Infomotions, Inc.Voltaire, Montesquieu and Rousseau in England. / Collins, John Churton, 1848-1908




Author: Collins, John Churton, 1848-1908
Title: Voltaire, Montesquieu and Rousseau in England.
Publisher: London : E. Nash, 1908.
Tag(s): montesquieu, charles de secondat, baron de, 1689-1755; voltaire, 1694-1778; rousseau, jean-jacques, 1712-1778; voltaire; rousseau; montesquieu; hume; england; ceuvres completes
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AND 

USSEAU IN ENGIMD 



J.CHURTON COLLINS 



VOLTAIRE, MONTESQUIEU, AND 
ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 




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v^OLTAIRE, MONTESQUIEU 

AND 

ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 



BY 



J:^"CHURTON COLLINS 

PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE IN THE 
UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM 






LONDON 

EVELEIGH NASH, FAWSIDE HOUSE 

1908 



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PREFACE 

This book is an attempt to sketch the history of 
three singularly interesting episodes in the literary 
relations between France and England, namely, 
the visits of Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau, 
during periods extending respectively from the 
spring of 1726 to the spring of 1729, from the 
autumn of 1729 to the spring or early summer of 
1731, and from January 1766 to May 1767. It is 
an attempt to supply what has not been supplied 
elsewhere, or indeed treated in any other way 
than occasionally and collaterally, by any previous 
writer, so far at least as I know. 

The volume has grown up by successive accre- 
tions. The first sketch of the portion treating of 
Voltaire's visit appeared in the form of two articles 
in the Cornhill Magazine for 1882. In 1886 these 
articles were greatly enlarged, and in their new 
form appended to Bolingbroke : a Historical Study, 
published in that year by Mr. John Murray. They 
are now again revised and extended by the addition 
of much new material collected since, and assume 
here their final form. The first sketch of the 



/ \ 



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vi PREFACE 

portion dealing with Montesquieu appeared some 
years ago in the form of an article in the Quarterly 
Review, but that too is not printed as it there 
appeared, but has been carefully revised and also 
enlarged. So scanty, however, are the materials 
which throw light on Montesquieu's residence here, 
partly in consequence of the destruction of his 
full notes on England, and partly from the un- 
fortunate disappearance of his correspondence with 
Chesterfield, that I regret I have not been able to 
add very much of importance to what I wrote 
before. I can only say that I have spared no 
pains to acquire new material : what consolation 
there may be lies in the probability that such 
material does not exist. The portion dealing with 
Rousseau appeared in its first form in the 
Quarterly Review nearly ten years ago. But this 
has been considerably revised and enlarged. 

It remains for me now to thank those who have 
in various ways assisted me. I must begin, I am 
sorry to say, with acknowledging no indebted- 
ness to Mr. Archibald Ballantyne's volume entitled 
Voltaire's Visit to England, published by Messrs. 
Smith Elder in 1893. I was obliged at the time 
to point out, in justice to myself, that the work 
simply appropriated, without one word of acknow- 
ledgment, the whole of the material collected by me, 



PREFACE vii 

and embodied in my essay printed in 1886 ; nor has 
Mr. Ballantyne added a single fact of importance 
to what he found there. Had he done so I hope I 
should have had the magnanimity to allow my grati- 
tude for instruction to outweigh any little irritation 
I may have felt at not being quite fairly treated. 

But to turn from an unpleasant to a more pleasing 
subject. To the great kindness of Mr. Henry Ruther- 
ford I am indebted for two hitherto unpublished 
letters of Voltaire written in English while he was 
at Wandsworth, and for an unpublished letter of 
Lord Peterborough's, throwing important light both 
on Voltaire's movements just before he left England 
and on his relations with Dr. Towne, an incident 
in his English experiences till now unknown to 
his numerous biographers ; to Mr. Forbes Sieve- 
king for most generously allowing me the use of the 
long and valuable letter printed in the Appendix, 
the original of which is in his possession. To Sir 
Maurice Boileau, of Ketteringham Park, Norfolk, 
I must express my thanks for his most kindly 
allowing the singularly interesting portrait of 
Rousseau, now in his possession, painted for 
David Hume by Wright of Derby in the spring 
of 1766, to be photographed for reproduction here. 
My other obligations to those who have, whether 
as strangers or friends, assisted me with material 



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viii PREFACE 

or in research are duly recorded, as occasion 
offers, in the notes. 

I am well aware what a trifling contribution 
this little volume is to the promotion of a branch 
of study the significance and interest of which we 
are only now beginning to understand, I mean the 
solidarity of the humanities, and the mutual 
influence which the chief literatures of Europe 
have exercised on each other both in relation 
to evolution and in relation to idiosyncrasies. It 
is only by minute investigation, and by investi- 
gation in detail, that real progress can be made 
in such a study. At present it seems to be repre- 
sented rather by abstract generalisations than by 
generalisations based on facts ; but unless in such 
inquiries the second precede the first there can be 
small security for soundness and truth. 

Nor is this all. The literary relations of Eng- 
land and France have always been of peculiar 
interest, and have at no time been more intimate 
and influential than they are at the present moment. 
Such ties can never be drawn too close, and happy 
indeed should I be if I thought that this little 
volume could contribute, however slightly, to 
illustrate, from one point of view at least, the 
propriety and desirableness of what is now finding 
more important expression in the Entente Cor Male. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Voltaire in England ..... i 



Montesquieu in England. .... 117 

Rousseau in England ..... 182 



IX 



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VOLTAIRE, MONTESQUIEU, AND 
ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 



The residence of Voltaire in England is an unwritten 
chapter in the literary history of the eighteenth 
century. And yet assuredly few episodes in that 
history are so well worth attentive consideration. 
In his own opinion it was the turning-point of his 
career. In the opinion of Condorcet it was fraught 
with consequences of momentous importance to 
Europe and to humanity. What is certain is that 
.t left its traces on almost everything which he 
subsequently produced, either as the professed 
disciple and interpreter of English teachers, or as 
an independent inquirer. That visit, says Lanfrey, 
comprised " les annees les plus fructueuses de sa 
vie." ^ It penetrated his life. " L'exemple de 

> 1 LEglise et les Philosophes au Dix-huitihne Sikle, p. 113. 
I 



2 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

; I'Angleterre/' says Condorcet, " lui montrait que 
; la verite n'est pas faite pour rester un secret 
entre les mains de quelques philosophes et d'un 
petit nombre de gens du monde instruits, ou plutot 
endoctrines par les philosophes." ^ And he con- 
tinues : " Des ce moment Voltaire se sentit appele 
a detruire les prejuges de toute espece, dont son 
pays etait I'esclave." Its influence extended to 
his poetry and to his criticism, to his work as a 
historian and to his work as an essayist. Nor is 
this all. The circumstances under which he sought 
our protection ; his strange experiences among us ; 
his relations with Pope, Swift, and Bolingbroke, 
with the Court, with the aristocracy, with the 
people ; the zeal and energy with which he studied 
our manners, our government, our science, our 
history, our literature ; his courageous attempts to 
distinguish himself as a writer in English — all 
combine to form one of the most interesting pass- 
ages in his singularly interesting career. 

But unfortunately no portion of Voltaire's 
biography is involved in greater obscurity. " On 
ignore," writes Charles Remusat, " a peu pres 
quelle fut sa vie en Angleterre. Ces deux annees 
sont une lacune dans son histoire. C'est un point 

1 Vie de Voltaire. Prefixed to (Euvres Cofnpletes de Voltaire 
vol. i. p. 202. 



/ 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 3 

de sa biographic qui meriterait des recherches." * 
Carlyje, who attempted in the third volume of his 
Frederick the Great to throw some hght on it, 
abandoned the task in impatient despair. Mere 
inanity and darkness visible — such are his expres- 
sions — reign, in all Voltaire's biographies, over this 
period of his life. " Seek not to know it," he 
exclaims ; " no man has inquired into it, probably 
no competent man ever will." ^ 

It happened, however, that at the very time 
Carlyle was thus expressing himself a very com- 
petent man was engaged on the task. The re- 
searches of Desnoiresterres succeeded in dispersing 
a portion at least of the obscurity which hung 
over Voltaire's movements during these mysterious 

^ VAngleterre an XVIII. Steele, vol. i. p. 380. 

^ Carlyle's own account {History of Frederick, book x. ch. ii.), 
while leaving the general darkness visible, teems with blunders. 
He confounds the Chevalier de Rohan-Chabot with the Due de 
Rohan ; misdates the second fracas with the Chevalier ; represents 
Voltaire's second imprisonment in the Bastille as lasting six months, 
whereas it lasted just fifteen days ; calls Sir Everard Falkener, 
Edward, and evidently knows nothing at all about him ; asserts that 
\he Hettriade was published in 1726 instead of 1728; represents, 
or appears to represent, Pope as having written the Essay 07i Man 
three years before it was written ; says that Voltaire's visit to 
England lasted some two years, whereas it lasted two years and 
eight months; and actually states that Falkener and Bohngbroke 
are " perhaps the only names that turn up in Voltaire's letters of 
the English period." None of them very heinous offences, perhaps, 
but what would Carlyle have said had anyone else been the offender? 



4 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

years. He took immense pains to supply the 
deficiencies of preceding biographers. Judging 
rightly that all that could now be recovered could 
be recovered only in scattered fragments, he dili- 
gently collected such information as lay dispersed 
in Voltaire's own correspondence and writings, 
and in the correspondence and writings of those 
with whom his eminent countryman had, when 
in England, been brought into contact. Much has, 
it is true, escaped him ; much which he has col- 
lected he has not, perhaps, turned to the best 
account ; but it is due to him — the fullest and the 
most satisfactory of Voltaire's biographers — to 
say that his chapter, '* Voltaire et la Societe An- 
glaise," must form the basis of all future inquiries 
into this episode in Voltaire's life. To higher praise 
he is certainly not entitled. Some of Desnoire- 
sterres' deficiencies are supplied by Mr. Parton, 
whose Life of Voltaire appeared in two goodly 
octavos in 1881. Mr. Parton has made one or two 
unimportant additions to what was already known, ' 
but he has done little more. I gratefully acknow- I 
ledge my obligations both to Desnoiresterres and 1 
to Mr. Parton ; but these obligations are slight, j 
The first point to be settled is the exact date ojf 
his arrival in England, and that date can, I think/, 
be determined with some certainty. On 29tlii 



1 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 5 

April (O.S.) 1726 an order arrived for his release 
from the Bastille, on the understanding that he 
would immediately quit Paris and not return 
without express permission from the King, within 
at least fifty leagues of that city.^ It was under- 
stood, though not required, that he would leave for 
England, as he had already announced his inten- 
tion of doing so to the Minister of the Department 
of Paris. ^ On 2nd May he was released from the 
Bastille, and apparentlyon the same day was escorted 
by a Government official, one Conde, to Calais.^ 
At all events, on May the 5th he was, as his letter 
to Thieriot and his letter to Madame de Ferriole 
prove, at Calais ; ^ and at Calais he remained for 
some days, the guest of his friend Dunoquet, the 
Treasurer of the troops. How long he remained at 
Calais we cannot say, as no documents have as yet 
been discovered which throw light on his move- 
ments between the 6th of May and the beginning of 
June. From his letter to Madame de Ferriole it 



1 Maurepas to De Launay, governor of the Bastille, printed 
in the Documents Biographiques. Voltaire, CEuvres Complies, vol. 
i. p. 308. 

"^CEuvres Completes, vol. xxx. pp. 157 and 158, these letters 
being dated respectively 5th May and 6th May. 

^ Histoire de la Detention des Phtiosophes, par J. Delort, vol. ii. 

P- 34- 

* And see the Letter to A. M***, Melanges, vol. i. p. 17. 



6 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

certainly appears that he had no immediate inten- 
tion of embarking. He asks her to send him news, 
and to give him instructions, and tells her that he 
is waiting to receive them. In all probability he 
continued at Calais, not as he had originally in- 
tended for four or five days, but for nearly five 
weeks, that is to say from the 6th of May to the 8th 
or gth of June. In any case, whatever his move- 
ments may have been, it is difficult to suppose that 
he left for England before the 8th or 9th of June 
(N.S.), though this is, it is true, difficult to reconcile 
with " le milieu du printemps," the time he himself 
assigns for his landing at Greenwich. 

He tells us himself that he disembarked near 
Greenwich, and it is clear from the passage which 
follows that he landed on the day of Greenwich 
Fair. That fair was invariably held on Whit- 
Monday, and Whit-Monday fell in 1726 on May the 
30th (O.S.). Now, a reference to the Daily C our ant 
for May the 30th shows that a mail arrived from 
France on Sunday the 29th, which would be, of 
course, according to the new style, loth June. 
Supposing, therefore, that his visit at Calais was 
protracted to five weeks after his letter to Madame 
de Ferriole — and there is, as we have shown, no 
reason for supposing that it was not — the time 
would exactly tally. That he should have remained 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 7 

on board till Monday morning need excite no sur- 
prise. But there is other evidence in favour of 
this date. In the remarkable passage^ in which he 
describes what he saw on landing, he tells us that 
the vessels in the river had spread their sails (de- 
ploye leurs voiles), to do honour to the King and 
Queen (in adding the name of the Queen he was 
of course mistaken, as she was in confinement at 
Ahlen), and he particularly notices the splendour 
of the royal barge, the two rows of merchant-ships 
covering a space of six miles, and the rich liveries 
worn by the King's menials. We turn to the 
London Gazette for Monday, May the 30th, and we 
find that on that day, the King's birthday, the 
rejoicings for which had been deferred from the 
preceding Saturday, was " celebrated with the 
usual demonstrations of public joy " ; and in the 
British Gazetteer for Saturday, May the 21st, we 
read that " great preparations are making for 
celebrating the King's birthday," and that " the 
King's menial servants are to be new clothed on 
that occasion." It may therefore be fairly inferred 
that Voltaire first set foot in England on Whit- 
Monday, May the 30th, 1726. 

It was already known in England that he had 
been released from the Bastille, and that it was 

1 Letter to A. M***, Melanges, vol. i. p. i8. 



8 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

his intention to come to London.^ With character- 
istic prudence he had induced the Comte de Mor- 
ville, then Minister of Foreign Affairs^ to obtain 
from Horatio Walpole, who had succeeded Stair 
as Ambassador at Paris, a letter recommending 
him to the notice and favour of the Duke of New- 
castle. In accordance with Morville's request, 
Walpole wrote as follows to Newcastle, 29th May 
1726 — 

" I hope you will excuse my recommending to 
you, at the earnest instance of M. de Morville, M. 
Voltaire, a poet, and a very ingenious one, who is 
lately gone to England to print by subscription an 
excellent poem called " Henry the Fourth." He 
has been indeed in the Bastille, but not upon the 
account of any State affair, but for a particular 
quarrel with a private gentleman ; and therefore 
I hope your Grace will readily give him your favour 
and protection in promoting the subscription." ^ 

He wrote also on the same day, making the same 
request to Bubb Dodington. Nor was this all. 
He gave him also a letter of introduction to the 

1 British, Journal iox 14th May 1726 : "On the 3rd instant M. 
de Voltaire was released from the Bastille and conducted as far as 
Calais, being allowed to go over into England, and forbid to come 
within fifty leagues of the Court. "Tis said he will publish in 
London a large edition of his famous poem of the League, whereof 
we have only an imperfect copy." 

2 Printed in the National Review for August 1892. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 9 

Comte, afterwards Marechal and Due de Broglie, 
then French Ambassador in London, asking him 
to present Voltaire to the members of the Enghsh 
Cabinet.^ 

On the voyage he had been the prey of melan- 
choly thoughts. He drew, in the bitterness of his 
soul, a parallel between his own position and the 
position in which his favourite hero once stood. 
And his feelings found expression in verse — 

"Je ne dois pas etre plus fortuiie 
Que le Heros celebre sur ma vielle : 
II fut proscrit, persecute, damne 
Par les devots et leur douce sequelle. 
En Angleterre il trouva du secours, 
J'en vais chercher."^ 

But on landing he soon recovered his cheerful- 
ness, and, throwing himself in a transport of joy 
on the earth, he reverently saluted it.^ Many of 

^ See the letter recently discovered by M. J. J. Jusserand 
printed in the Appendix, and referred to infra, pp. 72-73. 

2 Quoted in the Historical Memoirs of the author of the 
Henriade (I'jjS), where the writer speaks of having seen these 
verses in a letter in Voltaire's own handwriting, addressed to M. 
Dumas d'Aiguebere; they have since been printed in the 
Commentaire Historique, CEuvres Completes, Paris, 1883, where it 
is stated that the poem ended with the couplet — 

"Je n'ai pas le nez toume 
A etre prophete en raon pays." 

2 Duvernet, Vie de Voltaire, p. 64. 



10 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

his countrymen have described their first impres- 
sions of the land of Shakespeare and Newton, but 
to none of them has it ever presented itself as it 
presented itself to the fascinated eye of Voltaire. 
Everything combined to fill the young exile with 
delight and admiration. Though his health was 
delicate, he was in exuberant spirits. It was a 
cloudless day in the loveliest month of the English 
year. A soft wind from the west — I am borrowing 
his own glowing description — tempered the rays 
of the hot spring sun, and disposed the heart to 
joy. The Thames, rolling full and rapid, was in all 
its glory ; and in all their glory, too, were the 
stately trees which have now disappeared, but 
which then fringed the river banks on both sides 
for many miles. Nor was it nature only that was 
keeping carnival. It was the anniversary of the 
Great Fair, and it was the anniversary of the King's 
birthday. The river between Greenwich and 
London was one unbroken pageant. Farther than 
the eye could see stretched, with every sail 
crowded, two lines of merchant-ships drawn up 
to salute the royal barge, which, preceded by 
boats with bands of music, and followed by 
wherries rowed by men in gorgeous liveries, 
floated slowly past. Everywhere he could discern 
the signs of prosperity and freedom. Loyal ac- 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND ii 

clamations rent the air, and Voltaire observed 
with interest that a nation of freemen was a ' 
nation of dutiful subjects. 

From the river he turned to the park, and, 
curious to see English society in all its phases, he 
spent the afternoon in observing what was going 
on. He wandered up and down the park, question- 
ing such holiday-makers as could understand him 
about the races, and the arrangements for the races. 
He admired the skill with which the young women 
managed their horses, and was greatly struck with 
the freshness and beauty of their complexions, the 
neatness of their dress, and the graceful vivacity of 
their movements. In the course of his rambles he 
accidentally met some English merchants to whom 
he had letters of introduction. By them he was 
treated with great courtesy and kindness. They 
lent him a horse, they provided him with refresh- 
ments, and they placed him where both the park 
and the river could be seen to most advantage. 
While he was enjoying the fine view from the hill, 
he perceived near him a Danish courier, who had, ^ 
like himself, just arrived in England. The man's 
face, says Voltaire, was radiant with joy ; he be- 
lieved himself to be in paradise, where the women 
were always beautiful and animated, where the sky 
was always clear, and where no one thought of any- 



12 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

thing but pleasure. " And I," he adds, " was even 
more enchanted than the Dane." ^ 

The same evening he was in London, in all 
probability the guest of Bolingbroke, at his house 
in Pall Mall, where he was, he tells us, presented to 
some ladies of the Court, to whom he related his 
experiences at Greenwich, taking it for granted 
that they had been present at the festivities wit- 
nessed by him. But he was soon undeceived. No 
people of fashion, he was coldly informed, ever fre- 
quented such scenes ; that he had mistaken for 
ladies and gentlemen mere peasants, servant girls, 
and apprentices tricked out in holiday attire, and 
mounted on hacks hired for the day. He could, he 
continues, scarcely believe his ears or conceal his 
irritation from the lady who had had the charity 
so cruelly to disenchant him. The next day his 
introduction to society in England gave him a still 
greater surprise. Entering a dirty, ill-furnished, 
ill-served, and ill-lighted coffee-house, he found 
several of the merchants who had treated him with 
so much civility and cordiality at Greenwich the 
day before. On accosting them, however, they did 
not even recognise him, and a curt " Yes " or " No " 
was all the response he got when he attempted to 

^ Letter to A. M***, Melanges, vol. i. p. 17 seqq., CEuvres 
Completes, vol. xxii. pp. 18-20. 



V 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 13 

converse with them.^ Thinking that he must have 
inadvertently offended them, and observing also 
that they were very depressed, he ventured boldly 
to ask what was the matter and why they were so 
miserable. Upon that one of them sullenly re- 
marked that the wind was in the east, qit'll faisait 
un vent d'esf. While he was speaking, one of their 
friends came in and said with the greatest indiffer- 
ence : " Molly cut her throat this morning ; her 
lover found her dead in her room with a blood- 
stained razor beside her." Though Molly was a 
young, rich, and beautiful girl, and about to marry 
the man who had found her dead, the news was 
received with as much indifference as it was told. 
Voltaire remained some time, he tells, in -mingled 
astonishment and perplexity, till the effects of an ^ 
east wind on the temper and spirits of the English 
people were explained to him. Under its spell, 
gloom and wretchedness obtained everywhere. 
During the months when it prevailed people hung 
themselves by the dozen. Everyone was ill or in 
despair : it was the curse and ruin of the island. 
It was an east wind that beheaded Charles I., and 
an east wind that dethroned James II. " And if," 

^ Pollnitz, writing in 1733, notices this same peculiarity of the 
English, which he attributes to their reserved and melancholy 
temper. Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 454. 



14 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

added the Court doctor who told him all this, 
"you have any favour to ask at Court, you will 
never get it except when the wind is in the south 
or west." 1 

It is not unlikely that Voltaire's first host in 
England was, as I have already conjectured, 
Bolingbroke, who had a town house in Pall Mall. 
His acquaintance with that distinguished man had 
\ begun at La Source in the winter of 1721. Their 
acquaintance had soon ripened into intimacy, 
and though since then their personal intercourse 
had been interrupted, they had exchanged letters. 
At that time Bolingbroke was an exile ; he had 
recently obtained a pardon, and was now settled 
in England, where he divided his time between his 
town house in Pall Mall and his country house at 
Dawley. The friendship of Bolingbroke would 
have been a sufficient passport to the most brilliant 
literary circles in London, but as the connection of 
Bolingbroke lay principally among the Tories, the 

1 Letter to A. M***, Me/anges, vol. i. Making all allowance for 
Voltaire's exaggeration, we find a curious corroboration of what he 
here relates in one of Cesar de Saussure's letters, dated 29th May 
1727. He not only speaks of the terrible frequency of suicide, but 
says that he himself was attacked by the mania, which he attributes 
not to the influence of the east wind, but to the denseness of the 
atmosphere of London and the coal-smoke. See his letters, trans- 
lated and edited by Madame van Muyden, pp. 197-199. So, too, 
PoUnitz, Memoirs, vol. ii, pp. 459, 460. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 15 

young adventurer had taken the precaution, as 
we have seen, to secure patrons among the Whigs. 
The name of Bubb Dodington is now a synonym 
for all that is vilest and most contemptible in the 
trade of politics, but at the time of which we are 
writing his few virtues were more prominent than 
his many vices. His literary accomplishments, his 
immense wealth, and his generous though not very 
discriminating patronage of men of letters, had de- 
servedly given him a high place among the Maece- 
nases of his age. At his country seat in Dorset- 
shire he loved to assemble the wits and poets of the 
Opposition, the most distinguished of whom were 
Thomson and Young — the one still busy with his 
Seasons, the other slowly elaborating his brilliant 
Satires. For his introduction to Dodington he was, 
as we have seen, indebted to the English Ambassador 
at Paris, Horace Walpole the elder, who had, at the 
instigation of the Comte de Morville, written a letter 
recommending him to the patronage of Dodington. 
How fully he availed himself of these and of other 
influential friends is proved by the fact that when 
he quitted England in 1729 there was scarcely a 
single person of distinction, either in letters or in 
politics, with whom he was not personally ac- 
quainted. But his most intimate associate was an 
opulent English merchant who resided at Wands- 



i6 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

worth, and whos^ name was Everard Falkener. 
He had become acquainted with him in Paris, and 
had jHTOimsed, should opportunity offer, to \'i5it 
him in England.^ Falkener' s house he seems to 
have regarded as his home, and of Falkener himself 
he always speaks in terms of afiection and gratitude. 
He dedicated Zaire to him ; he regularly corre- 
sponded with him ; and to the end of his hfe he 
loved to recall the happy days spent under his good 
friend's hc^pitable roof at Wandsworth. Many 
years afterwards, when he wished to express his 
sense of the kindness he had received from King 
Stanislaus, he described him " as a kind of Fal- 
kener." Of Falkener few particulars have survived. 
We know from Voltaire that he was subsequently 
appointed Ambassador to Constantinople, that he 
held some appointment in Flanders, and that he 
was knighted. We gather from other sources that 
he became secretary to the Duke of Cumberland, 
and that he was one of the witnesses called on the 
trial of Simon Lord Lovat in 1747. To this it may 
be added that he became towards the end of George 
the Second's reign one of the Postmasters-General ; 
that in 1747* he married a daughter of General 
Churchill ; and that he died at Bath, November 

1 GoWfimdi's ''■ Liic of Voltaire," Misc^//. W^ki, iv. p. 20. 
* GentUmaTii Ma^aziiu for Febnxary 1747. 



VOLTAIRE IX ENGLAND 17 

16, 1758.^ That Voltsdre should have delighted in 
his society is not surprising, for though we know 
httle of Falkener's character, we know enough to 
understand its charm. *' I am here " — so runs a 
passage in one of his letters, quoted by Voltaire in 
his remarks upon Pascal — " just as you left me, 
neither merrier nor sadder, nor richer nor poorer ; 
enjoying perfect health, ha\-ing ever3thing that 
renders life agreeable, without love, without avarice, 
without ambition, and without en\y ; and as long 
as all that lasts I shall call m\-self a ver\' happy 
man." ^ 

To what extent \'oltaire was acquainted with 
the En^hsh lans:ua5:e on his arrival at Greenwich 
it is impossible to say. We can find no traces of 
his ha\in^ been ens:a£:ed in stud\"in^ it before his 
retirement subsequent to the caning he received 
from the Chevalier de Rohan, at the beginning of 
February 1726. If this was the case, what he 
knew of om" lan^ua^e was what he had been able 
to pick up in about three months. His progress 
must have been unusuaiiy rapid, for he had not only 
made himself understood at Greenwich Fair, but 
on the foIIo\\ing day he had mingled familiarly 
with tlie company at the cofltee-houses. It is, of 

* Gemaemam's Jfj^^jsf for November 175s. 
^ CEmots Cn^ieieSt Baacbot^ toL xrxrm. p. 46. 



i8 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

course, possible that the conversation had on these 
occasions been carried on in his native language. 
Then, as now, large numbers of French refugees 
had found a home in London. They had their own 
places of worship ; they had their own coffee- 
houses, the principal being the " Rainbow " in 
Marylebone, and there was quite a colony of them 
at Wandsworth. Then, as now, almost all edu- 
cated Englishmen were conversant with the 
language of Racine and Moliere. Regularly as 
each season came round a Parisian company 
appeared. At Court it was the usual mode of 
communication. By 1728 its attainment was held 
to be so essential a part of education that in the 
October of that year a journal was started, the 
professed object of which was to facilitate the 
study of it.^ Indeed, wherever he went he would 
encounter his countrymen, or Londoners who could 
converse with him in the language of his country- 
men. In Bolingbroke's house he would probably 
hear little else, for Lady Bolingbroke scarcely ever 
ventured to express herself in English ; and of 
Falkener's proficiency in French we have abundant 
proof. But among the cultivated Englishmen of 
that day there was one remarkable exception, and 

1 See the Flying Post or Weekly Medley, the first number of 
which appeared on October 8^ 1728. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 19 

that was unfortunately in the case of a man with 
whom Voltaire was most anxious to exchange 
ideas. *' Pope," wrote Voltaire many years after- 
wards, could hardly read French, and spoke not 
" one syllable of our language." ^ Voltaire's desire 
to meet Pope had no doubt been sharpened by the 
flattering remarks which Pope had two years before 
made about the Henriade, or, as it was then 
entitled. La Ligue. A copy of the poem had 
been forwarded to him from France by Boling- 
broke, and to oblige Bolingbroke he had managed 
to spell it out. The perusal had given him, he said, 
a very favourable idea of the author, whom he 
pronounced to be ** a bigot, but no heretic ; one 
who knows authority and national sanctions 
without prejudice to truth and charity ; in a 
word, one worthy of that share of friendship and 
intimacy with which you honour him." ^ These 
complimentary remarks Bolingbroke had, it seems, 
conveyed to Voltaire, and a correspondence appears 
to have ensued between the two poets, though no 

^ See Spence's Anecdotes (Singer, 8vo), p. 204, note, and 
Voltaire, Lettres Fhilosophiques, xxii. : " Ce que je sais, ainsi que tous 
les gens de lettres d'Angleterre, c'est que Pope, avec qui j'ai 
beaucoup vecu, pouvait k peine lire le frangais, qu'il ne parlait pas 
un mot de notre langage, qu'il n'a jamais dcrit une lettre en 
frangais." 

2 Letter to Bolingbroke, dated April 9, 1724. 



20 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

traces of that correspondence are now to be 
found. ^ 

Of his first interview with Pope three accounts 
are now extant. The first is that given by Owen 
Ruffhead, the substance of which is repeated by 
Johnson in his hfe of Pope ; the second is that 
given by Goldsmith, and the third is that given by 
Duvernet. It will be well, perhaps, to let each 
authority tell his own story. 

" Mr. Pope," writes Owen Ruffhead, " told one 
of his most intimate friends that the poet Voltaire 
had got some recommendation to him when he 
came to England, and that the first time he saw him 
was at Twickenham, where he kept him to dinner. 
Mrs. Pope, a most excellent woman, was then 
alive, and observing that this stranger, who ap- 
peared to be entirely emaciated, had no stomach, 
she expressed her concern for his want of appetite, 
on which Voltaire gave her so indelicate and brutal 
an account of the occasion of his disorder, con- 
tracted in Italy, that the poor lady was obliged 
immediately to rise from the table. When Mr. Pope 
related that, his friend asked him how he could 
forbear ordering his servant John to thrust Voltaire 
head and shoulders out of his house ? he replied, 
that there was more ignorance in this conduct 
than a purposed affront ; that Voltaire came into 
England, as other foreigners do, on a prepossession 

1 See Pope's letter to Caryl, dated December 25, 1725. 



; 1-1 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 21 

that not only all religion, but all common decency I 
of morals, was lost among us." ^ v^ 

Next comes Goldsmith — 

" M. Voltaire has often told his friends that he 
never observed in himself such a succession of 
opposite passions as he experienced upon his first 
interview with Mr. Pope. When he first entered 
the room and perceived our poor, melancholy poet, 
naturally deformed and wasted as he was with 
sickness and study, he could not help regarding 
him with the utmost compassion ; but when Pope 
began to speak and to reason upon moral obligations, 
and dress the most delicate sentiments in the most 
charming diction, Voltaire's pity began to be 
changed into admiration, and at last even into envy. 
It is not uncommon with him to assert that no 
man ever pleased him so much in serious conversa- 
tion, nor any whose sentiments mended so much 
upon recollection." ^ " 

It is difficult to reconcile these accounts with 
the narrative of Duvernet, who, as he almost 
certainly had his information from Thieriot, is an 
authority of great weight — 

" Dans leur premiere entrevue ils furent fort 
embarrasses. Pope s'exprimait tres peniblement 
en frangais, et Voltaire, n'etant point accoutume aux 

^ Life of Pope, 4to, p. 156. 

2 "Life of Voltaire," Miscella7ieous Works, vol. iv. p. 24. 



22 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

sifflements de la langue anglaise, ne pouvait se 
faire entendre. II se retira dans un village et ne 
rentra dans Londres que lorsqu'il eut acquis une 
grande facilite a s'exprimer en anglais." ^ 

This seems by far the most probable account. 
It is certain that Voltaire devoted himself 
with great assiduity to the systematic study 
of English shortly after his arrival among us. 
He provided himself with a regular teacher, who 
probably assisted him not only in the composition 
of his letters, which he now regularly wrote in 
English, but in the composition of his two famous 
essays.^ He obtained also an introduction to Colley 
Cibber, and regularly attended the theatres, follow- 
ing the play in a printed copy.^ 

His studies were, however, interrupted by his 
suddenly leaving England for France — an ex- 
pedition attended with considerable peril, and 
conducted with the utmost secrecy. The par- 
ticulars of this journey are involved in great 
obscurity. That he undertook it with the object 
of inducing the Chevalier de Rohan to give him 
an opportunity of avenging his wounded honour — 
that for some time, at least, he remained disguised 

1 Vie de Voltaire, p. 65. 

2 La Voltairomanie, pp. 46, 47. 

3 Chetwood's History of the Stage, p. 46. 



/ 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 23 

in Paris, not venturing to have an interview with 
any friend or with any relative — is clear from his 
letter to Thieriot dated August 12, 1726/ and 
written evidently from some place of concealment 
in or near Paris. For some time he was doubtful, 
he writes, whether he would again return to England, 
much as he appreciated the advantages of living 
in a country where thought was so nobly free, v 
where all the arts were honoured and rewarded, | 
and where, though there were differences in rank,| 
the only other differences recognised were those 
determined by meri t./ If, he continued, he followed 
inclination, he would certainly take up his abode 
there and devote himself to study and thought. 
But his health was bad and his means were small, 
and he doubted whether either would admit of 
his plunging into the excitement and hubbub of 
London and Whitehall. He was not, however, long 
in making up his mind, and " at the latter end 
of July" he was again in England, "very much 
dissatisfied " with his secret voyage into France, 
which had been both^^successful and expensive.^ 
That he was at Wandsworth a month after this 
is proved by a letter to Mademoiselle Bessieres, 
dated October the 15th, in which he speaks of 

1 CEuvres Completes, vol. xxxiii. p. 159. 

2 See letter to Thieriot in Appendix, 



24 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

himself as having been for two months in retire- 
ment. 

He arrived in England in a state of abject depres- 
sion, and this depression was aggravated by ill- 
health and the cross accidents of fortune. He had 
brought with him a bill of exchange of the value 
of "eight or nine French livres, reckoning all," and 
this bill — as he was not in immediate need of money 
— he had neglected to present. On presenting it 
to the man on whom it had been drawn — one 
D' Acosta, or, as he calls him in his letter to Thieriot, 
" Medina," a Jew — the man informed him that 
three days before he had become bankrupt, and 
the money was lost. Voltaire's misfortune, how- 
ever, happening to reach the ears of an English 
gentleman, the gentleman good-naturedly sent 
him a sum which is not specified, but which pro- 
bably relieved him from pressing embarrassment. 
It has been conjectured that this " gentleman " 
was the King, and as in the letter informing Thieriot 
of the fact he had said '' all that is king or belongs 
to a king frights my republican philosophy, I 
won't drink the least draught of slavery in the 
land of liberty," it is not surprising that Voltaire 
was unwilling to indicate the source of this timely 
charity. In the Preface to the Henriade in the 
edition of Voltaire's CBuvres Diverses, published in 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 25 

1746, it is distinctly stated that the King, hearing of 
the straits in which he was, sent him " deux mille 
ecus." ^ The account which Voltaire gives of his 
position at this time is so interesting and vivid that 
it had better be described in his own words. 

" I was without a penny, sick to death of a 
violent ague, a stranger, alone, helpless in the midst 
of a city wherein I was known to nobody. My Lord 
and my Lady Bolingbroke were in the country. I 
could not make bold to see our Ambassador in so 
wretched a condition. I had never undergone such 
distress. But I am born to run through all the 
misfortunes of life." " 

But what affected him most was a calamity to 
which in this letter he does not refer, the news of 
the death of his sister, Madame Mignot, the wife 'Tv 
of M. Mignot, Correct eur de la Chambre des 
Comptes. This threw him into an agony of 
grief. There is nothing in Voltaire's voluminous 
correspondence so touching as the letter in which 
his feehngs on this sad occasion found vent. It 
was addressed to Mademoiselle Bessieres, the lady 
who had informed him of her death. It is dated 
" Wandsworth, October 15, 1726." He describes 
himself as acquainted only with the sorrows of 

1 See CEuvres Completes, vol. viii. p. 5. 

2 See letter printed in the Appendix. 



26 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

life ; he is dead, he says, to everything but the 
affection he owes to his correspondent. He refers 
bitterly to the " retraite ignoree " from which he 
writes, and he says it would have been far better, 
both for his relatives and himself, had death removed 
him instead of his sister. " Les amertumes et les 
souffrances " — so run his gloomy reflections — " qui 
en ont marque presque tons les jours ont ete souvent 
mon ouvrage. Je sens le peu que je vaux ; mes 
faiblesses me font pitie et mes fautes me font 
horreur." On the following day he wrote in a 
similar strain to Madame de Bernieres. 

" Cetait a ma soeur a vivre, et a moi a mourir ; 
c'est une meprise de la destinee. Je suis doulour- 
eusement afflige de sa perte ; vous connaissez mon 
coeur, vous savez que j 'avals de I'amitie pour elle. 
Je croyais bien que se serait elle qui porterait le 
deuil pour moi." 

He was in deep distress, too, at the cruelty 
and injustice with which he had been treated 
by his brother ; and to this distress he subse- 
quently gave passionate utterance in a letter 
to Thieriot.^ But neither depression nor sorrow 
ever held long dominion over that buoyant and 
volatile spirit. On the very day on which he was 

^ See letter dated "Wandsworth, June 14, 1727," CEuvres Com- 
pletes (ed. 1880), vol. xxxiii. p. 172. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 27 

thus mournfully expressing himself to Madame de 
Bernieres, he was, in another letter, dilating with 
enthusiasm on the beauties of Pope's poetry. 

*' I look upon his poem called the Essay on 
Criticism as superior to the Art of Poetry of 
Horace, and his Rape of the Lock is, in my 
opinion, above the Lutrin of Despreaux. I never 
saw so amiable an imagination, so gentle graces, 
so great variety, so much wit, and so refined know- 
ledge of the world, as in this little performance." ^ 

Of his movements during the autumn of 1726 we 
know little beyond what may be gathered or de- 
duced from his letter to Thieriot, namely, that he 
was living with Falkener and his family at Wands- 
worth. " I lead," he writes, " an obscure and 
charming life . . . without going to London, and 
quite given over to the pleasures of indolence and 
of friendship. The true and generous affection of 
this man who soothes the bitterness of my life 
brings me to love you more and more." Of the 
liberality and kindness of Bolingbroke and Lady 
Bolingbroke he speaks with equal enthusiasm. " I 
have found their affection still the same, even 
increased in proportion to my unhappiness. They 
offered me all their money and their house ; but," 
he adds, in the true spirit of Swift, " I refused all 

^ Letter to Thieriot, printed in Appendix. 



28 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

because they are lords, and I have accepted all 
from Mr. Falkener because he is a single gentle- 
man." ^ He was engaged in close study, and saw 
little society. He instructs his correspondents in 
France to direct their letters to the care of Lord 
Bolingbroke ; but he was evidently not ii;! regular 
communication with Bolingbroke, or with any 
member of the Twickenham circle. This is proved 
by the fact that he knew nothing of the serious 
accident by which Pope was in peril of his life (he 
had been overturned in a coach and nearly drowned 
while on his way from visiting a friend) ^ until two 
months after it had happened, as his letter to 
Pope, dated November the i6th, shows. Another 
letter,^ too — a letter undated, but evidently be- 
longing to this period and written in English — 
addressed to John Brinsden,^ Bolingbroke's sec- 
retary, points to the same conclusion. On Friday, 
November i6, he was undoubtedly at Bolingbroke's 
house, for the letter addressed by him to Pope on 
that day is dated from BoHngbroke's. As it is very 
characteristic of Voltaire, it may be here inserted — 

1 See Letter to Thieriot in Appendix. 

2 See for an account of tiiis accident, which occurred in 
September 1726, Johnson's Life of Pope, Lives (ed. Cunningham), 
vol. iii. p. 51. 

^ Preserved in Collet's Relics of Literature, p. 70. 
* Printed in Appendix. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 29 

" Sir, — I hear this moment of your sad adven- 
ture. The water you fell into was not Hippocrene's 
water, otherwise it would have supported you ; 
indeed, I am concerned beyond expression for the 
danger you have been in, and more for your wounds. 
Is it possible that those fingers which have written 
The Rape of the Lock, the Criticism, and which have 
so becomingly dressed Homer in an English coat, 
should have been so barbarously treated ? Let 
the hand of Dennis or of your poetasters be cut off ; 
yours is sacred. I hope, sir, you are now perfectly 
recovered. Really, your accident concerns me as 
much as all the disasters of a master ought to 
affect his scholar. I am sincerely. Sir, with the 
admiration which you deserve. Your most humble 
servant, Voltaire. 



(( 



In my Lord Bolingbroke's house, Friday, at 
noon. November 16, 1726." 

Very little, however, of the following year 
was spent in retirement, for we find traces of him 
in many places. His attenuated figure and eager, 
haggard face grew familiar to the frequenters of 
fashionable society. He passed three months at 
the seat of Lord Peterborough, where he became 
intimate with Swift, ^ who was a fellow- visitor. 

1 See a very interesting extract from an MS. journal kept by a 
Major Broome, who visited Voltaire in 1765, and who heard this 
and other particulars from Voltaire himself. It is printed in Notes 
and Queries (first series), vol. x. p. 403. 



30 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

It appears also that he visited and received much 
kindness from Lord Bathurst.^ At Bubb Dod- 
ington's mansion, at Eastbury, he met Young, 
who had not as yet taken orders, but was seeking 
fortune as a hanger-on at great houses. It was a 
curious chance which brought together the future 
author of the Night Thoughts and the future author 
of La Pucelle ; it was still a more curious circum- 
stance that they should have formed a friend- 
ship which remained unbroken when the one had 
become the most rigid of Christian divines, and the 
other the most daring of anti-Christian propagan- 
dists. Many years afterwards, Young dedicated to 
him in very flattering terms one of the most pleas- 
ing of his minor poems — the Sea Piece. 

At Eastbury occurred a well-known incident. 
A discussion had arisen as to the merits of Paradise 
Lost. Young spoke in praise of his favourite poet ; 
Voltaire, who had as little sympathy with Milton 
as he had with iEschylus and Dante, objected to 
the episode of Sin and Death, contending that as 
they were abstractions it was absurd to assign 
them offices proper only to concrete beings. These 

^ See Roberts' Life of Hannah More, vol. i. p. 399. Hannah 
More to her sister, sending two original letters of Voltaire's in 
English, given her by the Lord Chancellor Bathurst, Bathurst's 
second son. These I cannot trace. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 31 

objections he enforced with his usual eloquence 
and sarcastic wit. The parallel between the hungry 
monster of Milton, ' grinning horrible ' its ' ghastly 
smile/ and the meagre form of the speaker — his 
thin face lighted up, as it always was in conversa- 
tion, with that peculiar sardonic smile familiar to 
us from his portraits — was irresistible. And Young 
closed the argument with an epigram (I quote 
Herbert Croft's version) — 

"You are so witty, profligate, and thin, 
At once we think thee Milton, Death, and Sin." 

It appears, however, from Young's poem, in which 
he plainly refers to this conversation, that he 
succeeded in impressing on his friendly opponent 
" that Milton's blindness lay not in his song." 

"On Dorset downs, when Milton's page, 

With Sin and Death, provok'd Thy rage. 
Thy rage provok'd, who sooth'd with gentle rhymes? 

Who kindly couch'd the censure's eye. 

And gave thee clearly to descry 
Sound judgment giving law to fancy strong? 

Who half-inclin'd thee to confess. 

Nor could thy modesty do less. 
That Milton's blindness lay not in his song?" 

A letter written about this time to a friend 

in France, probably M. Dussol, dated by the 

editors — but dated wrongly — 1726, is a sufficient 

\ proof that the young exile was no longer either 



•u 



32 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

discontented or unhappy. " You, who are a 
perfect Briton," — thus the letter runs — " should 
cross the Channel and come to us. I assure you 
that a man of your temper would not dislike a 
country where one obeys to (sic) the laws only, 
and to one's whims. Reason is free here, and 
walks her own way. Hypochondriacs are especi- 
ally welcome. No manner of living appears strange. 
We have men who walk six miles a day for their 
health, feed upon roots, never taste flesh, wear a 
coat in winter thinner than your ladies do in the 
hottest days : all that is accounted a particular 
reason, but taxed with folly by nobody." ^ 

In March he was present at the funeral of Sir 
Isaac Newton. It was a spectacle which made a 
profound impression on him, and he ever after- 
wards delighted to recall how he had once been the 
denizen of a country in which the first officers of 
the State contended for the honour of support- 
ing the pall of a man whose sole distinction 
lay in intellectual eminence. How differently, 
he thought, would the author of the Principia 
have fared in Paris. He subsequently made the 

^ Correspondance, CEiivres Completes, xxxiii. 163. That this is 
wrongly dated 1726 by the editor is certain, for in it Voltaire refers 
to his Essay on the Civil Wars of France published towards the 
end of 1727. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 33 

acquaintance of the philosopher's niece, Mrs, 
Conduit, and of the physician and surgeon who 
attended him in his last moments ; from them he 
learned many interesting particulars. It is per- 
haps worth mentioning that we owe to Voltaire the 
famous story of the falling apple. 

The history of the preservation of this anecdote 
is interesting, and it may be well perhaps for me 
to justify what I have asserted, that we owe the 
tradition of it to Voltaire. It is not, so far as I can 
discover, to be found in any publication antecedent 
to the Lettres sur les Anglais. It is not men- 
tioned by Newton's friend Whiston in his Sir 
Isaac Newton's Mathematical Philosophy more 
easily Demonstrated, published in 1716. Nor is 
it mentioned by Fontenelle in his Eloge of Newton 
delivered in 1727, and inserted in the following 
year in the Histoire de l' Academic des Sciences, 
nor in the Life of Sir Isaac Newton, published 
in London in 1728. It is not recorded by Henry 
Pemberton in his View of Newton's Philosophy , 
1708, though Pemberton does record that Newton 
was sitting in a garden when the first notion of 
his great theory occurred to him. Pemberton's 
words are : " The first thoughts which gave rise 
to his Principia he had when he retired from 
Cambridge in 1666 on account of the Plague. As 



34 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

he sate alone in a garden, he fell into a speculation 
on the power of gravity." It would seem, too, 
that the story was not known to Newton's intimate 
friend. Dr. Stukely, for Stukely says nothing about 
it in his long letter to Dr. Mead (printed in Turner's 
Collections for the History of Grantham), written 
just after the philosopher's death, and containing 
many particulars about Newton's life and studies. 
But it was apparently known to Martin Folkes, 
then Fellow, and subsequently President of the 
Royal Society, and by him communicated to 
Robert Green, who, in his *' Miscellanea Qusedam 
Philosophica," appended to his Principles of the 
Philosophy of the Expansive and Constructive 
Forces, published in 1727, thus obscurely, or 
rather enigmaticall}^, alludes to it (p. 972) : " Quae 
sententia — i.e., the doctrine of gravitation — 
originem duxit, uti omnis, ut fertur, cognitio nostra, 
a Pomo ; id quod accepi ab ingeniosissimo at 
doctissimo viro . . . Martino Folkes Armigero 
Regiae vero Societatis socio meritissimo." But it 
was first recorded in the form in which Voltaire 
gives it by John Conduit, a very intimate friend 
of Newton, and the husband of his niece, who in 
1727 drew up a number of notes containing par- 
ticulars of Newton's life for the use of Fontenelle, 
then engaged in preparing his Eloge. Fontenelle, 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 35 

however, made no use of the anecdote, and Conduit's 
notes remained in manuscript till 1806, when they 
were printed by Edmund Turner in his Collections 
for the History of Grantham (p. 160). Conduit's 
words are : "In the year 1665, when he retired 
to his own estate on account of the Plague, he 
first thought of his system of gravitation, which 
he did upon observing an apple fall from a tree." 
Voltaire's first account is in the fifteenth of the 
Lettres sur les Anglais, published in 1733, or 
possibly earlier, and it runs thus : " S'etant retire 
en 1666 a la campagne pres de Cambridge, un jour 
qu'il se promenait dans son jardin et qu'il voyait 
des fruits tomber d'un arbre, il se laissa aller a une 
meditation profonde sur cette pesanteur, dont tons 
les philosophes ont cherche si longtemps la cause 
en vain." Relating the anecdote afterwards in his 
Elements de la Philosophic de Newton, part iii, 
chap, iii., he gives his authority : " Un jour en 
I'annee 1666 Newton retira a la campagne, et 
voyant tomber des fruits d'un arbre, h ce que m'a 
conU sa niece Madame Conduit, se laissa aller," etc. 
It is satisfactory, therefore, to know that the 
anecdote rests on the best authority, that, namely, 
of Newton's favourite disciple and of the niece who 
lived with him, as it is interesting to know that 
Voltaire was the first to give it to the world. 



36 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

In the course of this year, 1727, Voltaire met 
Gay, who showed him the Beggars' Opera before it 
appeared on the stage ; ^ and it was probably also in 
the course of this year that he paid his memor- 
able visit to Congreve. His admiration of the most 
brilliant of the comic poets of the Restoration is 
sufficiently indicated in the Lettres PJiilosophiques , 
and that admiration he lost no time in personally 
expressing. But Congreve, whose temper was prob- 
ably not improved by gout and blindness, and who 
was irritated perhaps by the ebullience of his young 
admirer, affected to regard literary distinction as a 
trifle. " I beg," he said, " that you will look upon 
me, not as an author, but as a gentleman." 
** If," replied Voltaire, disgusted with his foppery, 
** you had had the misfortune to be simply a 
gentleman, I should not have troubled myself to 
wait upon you" ; and in telling the story he adds 
that he was very much disgusted at such an un- 
seasonable piece of vanity (je fus tres cheque de 
cette vanite si mal placee).^ 

To Congreve he probably owed his introduction 
to the Dowager Duchess of Marlborough, who not 

1 MS. letter written by a Major Broome, who visited Voltaire in 
1765 ; printed in Notes and Queries (first series), vol. x. p. 403. 

2 Lettres Philosophiques XIX., CEuvres Completes, xxii. 161. The 
anecdote, though it appears in the English version of these letters 
published in 1733, was suppressed in the French edition of 1739. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 37 

only communicated to him some interesting 
particulars which he afterwards wove into his 
Steele de Louis XIV., and into his History of Charles 
XII., but is said to have solicited his assistance in 
drawing up her Memoirs. This task he at first 
consented to undertake. The Duchess laid the 
papers before him, and issued her instructions. 
Finding, however, that he was to write not as 
unbiased historical justice required, but as her 
Grace's capricious prejudices dictated, he ventured 
to expostulate. Upon that her manner suddenly 
changed. Flying into a passion, she snatched the 
papers from him, muttering : " I thought the man 
had sense ; but I find him, at bottom, either a 
fool or a philosopher." The story is told by 
Goldsmith; it would be interesting to know on 
what authority .1 

Another story, resting, it is true, on no very 
satisfactory testimony, but in itself so intrinsically 
probable that we are inclined to believe it genuine, 
is related by Desnoiresterres. Voltaire, hearing 
that the Duchess was engaged in preparing her 
Memoirs for publication, ventured to ask if he 
might be permitted to glance at the manuscript. 
" You must wait a little," she said, "for I am 
revising it " ; coolly observing that the conduct 

1 " Life of Voltaire," Miscellaneous Works, iv. p, 25. 



38 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

of the Government had so disgusted her that she 
had determined to recast the character of Queen 
Anne, "as I have/' she added, " since these 
creatures have been our rulers, come to love her 
again." Pope's Atossa was assuredly no caricature, 
and a better commentary on it it would be im- 
possible to find. 

Like most of his countrymen, Voltaire appears 

f to have been greatly struck with the beauty of the 

i English women, and about this time he became 

} acquainted with one whose charms have been more 

frequently celebrated than those of any other 

woman of that age. Voltaire was one of the 

thousand adorers of Molly Lepel, then the wife of 

Lord Hervey. To her he addressed a copy of 

verses, which are interesting as being the only 

verses now extant composed by him in English. 

Their intrinsic merit is not, it must be admitted, 

of a high order, but as a literary curiosity they 

will bear repetition — 

"Hervey, would you know the passion 
You have kindled in my breast? 
Trifling is the inclination 

That by words can be express'd. 

In my silence see the lover — 

True love is best by silence known ; 

In my eyes you'll best discover 
All the power of your own." 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 39 

A curious fortune attended these verses. The}^ 
were subsequently transcribed and addressed to a 
lady named Laura Harley — the wife of a London 
merchant — by one of her gallants, and they formed 
part of the evidence on which her husband grounded 
his claim for a divorce.^ This has misled Mr. 
Parton, who supposes that Voltaire wrote them, 
not in honour of Lady Hervey, but in honour of 
poor Mr. Harley' s erring wife. That they awoke 
no jealousy in Lord Hervey is proved by Voltaire's 
letter to Thieriot, dated April 1732, and by a letter 
he addressed to Hervey himself in 1740. But the 
beautiful wife of Lord Hervey was not the only 
lady distinguished by the admiration of Voltaire. 
He has spoken in rapturous terms of the graces 
and accomplishments of Lady Bolingbroke, for 
whom he finds a place in his Steele de Louis XIV ., 
and an unpublished letter in the British Museum 
shows that he had paid assiduous court to Lady 
Sundon, who had evidently not been insensible to 
his flattery.'^ 

And now we come to a very curious story, a 
story which is related in detail by Ruffhead, and 

^ This circumstance is mentioned by Chateauneuf in his Les 
Divorces Anglais, vol. i. pp. xxxv., xxxvi., "Notions Prdliminaires," 
and is discussed by Desnoiresterres, La Jeunesse de Voltaire, p. 387. 

- Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., 20,105. 



40 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

has been repeated by Johnson. It had long been 
suspected by Pope and Bohngbroke that Voltaire 
was playing a double part ; in other words, that 
he had formed a secret alliance with the Court 
party, and was acting as their spy. Their sus- 
picion was soon confirmed. In February 1727 
appeared the third of a series of letters in which 
the character and policy of Walpole were very 
severely handled. The letter was written with 
unusual energy and skill ; it attracted much at- 
tention, and Walpole' s friends were anxious to 
discover the author. While it was still the theme 
of conversation Voltaire came to Twickenham, and 
asked Pope if he could tell him who wrote it. 
Pope, seeing his object, and wishing to prove 
him, informed him in the strictest confidence 
that he was himself the author of it, "and," he 
added, " I trust to your honour as a gentleman, 
Mr. Voltaire, that you will communicate this 
secret to no living soul." The letter had really 
been written by Bolingbroke, and bore in truth no 
traces of Pope's style ; but the next day every 
one at Court was speaking of it as Pope's com- 
position, and Voltaire's treachery was manifest. 
To this Bolingbroke apparently refers in a letter 
to Swift (May the i8th, 1727) : " I would have you 
insinuate that the only reason Walpole can have 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 41 

to ascribe them [i.e., the occasional letters just 
alluded to) to a particular person is the authority 
of one of his spies, who wriggles himself into the 
company of those who neither love, esteem, nor 
fear the Minister, that he may report, not what he 
hears, since no man speaks with any freedom 
before him, but what he guesses." Conduct so 
scandalous as this ought not to be lightly imputed 
to any man, and it would be satisfactory to know 
that Voltaire had either been traduced or mis- 
represented. It is not likely, however, that the 
story was invented by Warburton, from whom 
Ruffhead almost certainly obtained it, and there is, 
moreover, strong presumptive evidence in its favour. 
Voltaire had undoubtedly been meddhng with the 
matter, for in a letter to Thieriot, dated May 27, 
1727, he says : " Do not talk of the Occasional 
Writer. Do not say that it is not of my Lord 
Bohngbroke. Do not say that it is a wretched 
performance. You cannot be judge." It is certain 
that he twice received money from the Court ; it 
is certain that he visited Walpole, and that he 
sought every opportunity to ingratiate himself with 
the King and with the King's friends. It is clear 
that neither Pope nor any member of Pope's circle 
had much confidence in him. Bohngbroke has, 
indeed, expressly declared that he believed him 



V 



42 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

capable of double-dealing and insincerity/ and 
what Bolingbroke observed in him was observed 
also by Young. ^ Nor was such conduct at all out 
of keeping with the general tenor of Voltaire's 
behaviour during his residence among us. That 
traditions little creditable to him had wide circula- 
tion is certain from Burigny's letter to the Abbe 
Mercier. 

" M. de Saint - Hyacinthe m'a dit et repete 
plusieurs fois que M. de Voltaire se conduisit tres- 
irregulierement en Angleterre : qu'il s'y est fait 
beaucoup d'ennemis, par des procedes qui n'accor- 
daient pas avec les principes d'une morale exacte : 
il est m6me entre avec moi dans des details que je 
ne rapporterai point, parce qu'ils peuvent avoir 
ete exageres. 



y> 3 



This may, however, have had reference not to his 
supposed treachery in the affair of the letters, but to 
the scandals immediately preceding his departure 
from England. Throughout his aims were purely 
selfish, and to attain his ends he resorted to means 
which no man of an honest and independent spirit 
would have stopped to use. It would perhaps be 

1 See his Letter to Madame de Ferriole, dated December 1725 ; 
Lettres Historiques^ vol. iii. p. 274. 

2 Spence's Anecdotes, p. 285. 

^ Histoire Fosthume de Voltaire ; CEuvns Computes, vol. i. 
p. 467. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 43 

unduly harsh to describe him as a parasite and a v 
sycophant ; but it is nevertheless true that he too / 
often figures in a character closely bordering on 
both. His correspondence — and his conversation/ 
no doubt resembled his correspondence — is almost I 
sickening. His compliments are so fulsome, his U 
flattery so exaggerated, that they might excusably / 
be mistaken for elaborate irony. He seems to i 
be always on his knees. There was scarcely a 
distinguished man then living in England who had 
not been the object of this nauseous homage. He 
pours it indiscriminately on Pope, Swift, Gay, ^  
Clarke, on half the Cabinet and on half the peerage. 
In a man of this character falsehood and hypocrisy 
are of the very essence of his composition. There 
is nothing, however base, to which he will not 
stoop ; there is no law in the code of social honour 
which he is not capable of violating.* The fact 
that he continued to remain on friendly terms with 
Pope and Bolingbroke can scarcely be alleged as a 
proof of his innocence, for neither Pope nor Boling- 
broke would, for such an offence, have been likely to 
quarrel with a man in a position so peculiar as that of 
Voltaire. His flattery was pleasant, and his flattery, 

1 For a characteristic illustration of Voltaire's duplicity and 
meanness in social life, see Horace Walpole's " Short Notes of my / 
Life," printed in Horace Walpole's Letters (ed. Mrs. Toynbee, vol. i.). 



44 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

as they well knew, might some day be worth having. 
No injuries are so readily overlooked as those 
which affect neither men's purses nor men's vanity. 
Another disagreeable trait in Voltaire's social 
y character was the gross impropriety of his con- 
versation, even in the presence of those whose age 
and sex should have been sufficient protection 
from such annoyance. In one of his visits to 
Pope, his talk was, as has been already mentioned, 
so offensive that it absolutely drove Mrs. Pope out 
of the room.^ 



II 



Towards the end of January 1727 he was 
presented at Court, as was duly recorded in the 
Daily Journal of January 27, 1727. *' Last week, 
M. Voltaire, the famous French poet, was introduced 
to his Majesty, who received him very graciously." 
Some nine years before he had sent the King a copy 
of his (Edipe, accompanying the presentation with 
a poem, before which, though written in all serious- 
ness, the irony of Pope's adaptation of Horace's 
Epistle to Augustus must pale. 

"Toi que la France admire autant que I'Angleterre " — 

so runs the ludicrous flattery — 

^ Johnson's Life of Pope; Ruff head's Life of Pope. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 45 

" Qui de I'Europe en feu balances les destins : 
Toi qui cheris la paix dans le sein de la guerre, 
Et qui n'es arme du tonnerre 
Que pour le bonheur des humains; 
Grand roi, des rives de la Seine 
J'ose te presenter ces tragiques essais. 

Un veritable roi sait porter sa puissance 
Plus loin que ses Etats renferm^s par les mers : 
Tu regnes sur I'Anglais par le droit de naissance, 
Par tes vertus, sur I'univers." 

That the King had made some return for the 
young poet's flattery seems clear from a letter 
written by Voltaire to Lord Stair, then our 
ambassador at Paris, dated 20th June 1719, and 
from a reference in a letter of Craggs' to Stair in 
the September of the same year. It seems to have 
taken the form of a beautiful watch ; ^ possibly it 
may, in addition, have taken a more substantial 
form also. But if Voltaire took care to do what 
he could to ingratiate himself with the King, he 
was equally careful to ingratiate himself with the 
Prince and Princess of Wales, who presided over 

1 Both these letters are printed in Graham's Annals and Corre- 
spondence of the First and Second Earls of Stair ^ vol, ii. p. 128. "I 
beg you, milord, to add to all your favours by sending to my father's 
house the beautiful watch which you showed me. A letter will 
charm him, and he will be delighted if the presents which the King 
of England deigns to make me pass through his hands." The 
passage in Cragg's letter is : "I might add, that they owe us a favour 
of this nature for that which his Majesty did to M. Voltaire " {ibid., 
ii. 404)- 



46 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

an opposition Court which might at any moment 
become the reigning one. Accordingly Lady 
Bolingbroke wrote to Mrs. Howard, afterwards 
Countess of Suffolk, soliciting her patronage for 
Voltaire, and asking her to present from him to 
the Princess Caroline a copy of one of his tragedies. 



iC 



' Vous aimez I'esprit et le merite et vous este plus 
capable d'en juger que personne. Acorde done je 
vous prie vostre protection au seul poete frangois 
que nous ayons a present et ayez la bonte de 
presenter a S.A.R. madame la princesse une 
tragedie qu'il vient de faire imprimer, et dont il 
a pris la liberte de lui destiner cet exemplaire." ^ 

The letter is dated Cramfort (Cranford) " ce 
dimanche," but neither the month nor the year is 
indicated. The reference to the Princess shows that 
it must have been written before the death of 
George I. For the patronage of the Princess of 
Wales he was indebted to Chesterfield.^ 

Nor was Mrs. Howard the only Court favourite 
whose patronage he sought. A letter written by 
him after his return to Paris in April 1729 shows 
that he had received much kindness from Mrs. 
Clayton, afterwards Lady Sundon. It is dated 
Paris, i8th April 1729. 

1 Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., 22,627, fol- 75- 

2 Maty's Memoirs of Chesterfield, vol. i. p. 42. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 47 

" Madam, — Tho' I am out of London the favours 
your ladyship has honoured me with are not, nor 
will ever be, out of my memory. I'll remember 
as long as J live, that the most respectable lady who 
waits and is a friend of the most truly great queen 
in the world, has vouchsafed to protect me and 
receive me with kindness while J was at London. 
I am just now arrived at paris, and J pay my 
respects to your Court before I see our own. I 
wish, for the honour of Versailles and for the improve- 
ment of virtue and letters, we could have some 
Ladyes like you. You see, my wishes are un- 
bounded ; so is the respect and the gratitude J 
am with, Madam, Your most humble obedient 
servant, Voltaire." ^ 

On loth June 1727, George i. died, and the opposi- 
tion Court became the reigning one. Of the events 
immediately succeeding the King's death, the acces- 
sion and coronation of George II. and the great 
political excitement consequent on the inauguration 
of a new reign, Voltaire says nothing in his corre- 
spondence. In a letter written to Thieriot a few 
days after the news of the King's death had arrived, 
he makes no reference whatever to what must have 
been engaging everyone's attention in London.^ 

I Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., 20,105. 

' That Voltaire should apparently have known nothing about 
Coronation, and taken no part in the festivities, is the more 
arkable because one of his countrymen, C^sar de Saussure, then 



\ 



48 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

Meanwhile he was dihgently collecting materials 
which were afterwards embodied in his Lettres 
Philosophiques , his Didiomiaire Philosophique, his 
Siecle de Louis XIV., and his Histoire de Charles XII. 
First he investigated the history and tenets of the 
Quakers. With this object he sought the acquaint- 
ance of Andrew Pitt, " one of the most eminent 
Quakers in England, who, having traded thirty 
years, had the wisdom to prescribe Hmits to his 
fortune and desires, and settled in a little solitude 
at Hampstead." ^ And it was in this solitude at 
Hampstead that Voltaire visited him, dining with 
him twice. He attended, also, a Quakers' meeting 
near the Monument, and of this he has given a very 
amusing account. The substance of his conversation 
with Pitt, supplemented by his own independent 
study of Quaker literature, he has embodied in the 
article on Quakers in the Philosophical Dictionary 
and in the first four Philosophical Letters. He 
investigated the various rehgious sects into which 
English Protestantism had divided itself, and to 
these schisms he somewhat paradoxically ascribes 
the harmony and contentment reigning in the re- 
in London, has given a very elaborate and vivid account of it. See 
a Foreign View o/Efiglandin the Reigns of George I. and George II., 
being the letters of De Saussure to his family, Letter X., pp. 239-270. 
1 See obituary notice of Pitt in the London Daily Post for April 
1736. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 49 

ligious world of England. " If," he observes, 
" only one religion were allowed in England, 
the Government would very possibly become 
arbitrary ; if there were but two, the people 
would cut one another's throats ; but as there 
are such a multitude, they all live happy and 
in peace." ^ He studied the economy of the 
Established Church, and the habits and character 
of the clergy, whom he pronounced to be superior 
in morality and decency to the clergy in France.^ 
Our commerce, our finance, and our government 
each engaged his attention, and on each he has 
commented with his usual superficial cleverness. 
Three things he observed with especial pleasure, 
because they contrasted so strongly with what he 
had been accustomed to witness in France. He 
found himself for the first time in his life in the 
midst of a free people, a people who lived unshackled 
save by laws which they had themselves enacted ; 
a people who, enjoying the inestimable privilege of 
a free press, were, in the phrase of Tacitus, at 
liberty to think what they pleased and to publish 
what they thought. The English, he observes, are 
the only people upon earth who have been able to 

^ Letters concerning the English Nation (English version, 1733), 
Letter VI. 

2 Ibid., Letter V. 
4 



50 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

prescribe limits to the power of kings by resisting 
them, and who have by a series of struggles at 
last established a wise Government, where the 
Prince is all-powerful to do good and at the same 
time restrained from doing evil ; though these 
liberties, he goes on to say, have been purchased 
at a very high price. ^ He beheld a splendid and 
powerful aristocracy, not, as in Paris, standing 
contemptuously aloof from science and letters, but 
themselves not unfrequently eager candidates for 
literary and scientific distinction. The names of 
many of these noble authors he has recorded, and 
they are, he adds, more glorious for their works 
than for their titles. With not less pleasure he 
beheld the honourable rank assigned in English 
society to a class which, in the Faubourg St. 
Germain, was regarded with disdain. Voltaire was 
perhaps the first writer of eminence in Europe who 
had the courage to vindicate the dignity of trade. 
He relates with pride how, when the Earl of Oxford 
held the reins of Great Britain in his hands, his 
younger brother was a factor at Aleppo ; how, 
when Lord Townshend was directing the councils 
of his Sovereign in the Painted Chamber, one of 
his nearest relatives was soliciting custom in a 

^ Letters concerning the Etiglish Nation, English version, 1733, 
Letter VIII. 



/ 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 51 

counting-house in the City. He draws a sarcastic 
parallel between a " seigneur, powdered, in the tip 
of the mode, who knows exactly what o'clock the 
King rises and goes to bed, and who gives himself 
airs of grandeur and state at the same time that 
he is acting the slave in the ante-chamber of a 
Prime Minister," and a merchant who enriches his 
country, despatches orders from his counting-house 
to Surat and Grand Cairo, and contributes to the 
felicity of the world. ^ 

But nothing impressed him so deeply as the / 

homage paid, and paid by all classes, to intellectual 
eminence. Parts and genius were, he observed, a 
sure passport, not, as in France, to the barren 
wreath of the Academy, but to affluence and 
popularity. By his pen Addison had risen to one 
of the highest offices of the State. A few graceful 
poems had made the fortunes of Stepney, Prior, 
Gay, Parnell, Tickell, and Ambrose Philipps. By 
his Essays Steele had won a Commissionership of 
Stamps and a place in Parliament. A single comedy 
had made Congreve independent for life. Newton 
was Master of the Mint, and Locke had been a 
Commissioner of Appeals. He records with pride 
that the portrait of Walpole was to be seen only 
in his own closet, but that the portraits of Pope 

^ See the remarkable passage at the end of the tenth letter. 



52 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

were to be seen in half the great houses in England. 
" Go," he says, ** into Westminster Abbey, and 
you find that what raises the admiration of the 
spectator is not the mausoleums of the English 
Kings, but the monuments which the gratitude of 
the nation has erected to perpetuate the memory 
of those illustrious men who contributed to its 
glory." 1 He thought bitterly how in his own 
country he had seen Crebillon on the verge of 
perishing by hunger, and the son of Racine in the 
last stage of abject destitution. When, too, on his 
return to France, he saw the body of poor Adrienne 
Lecouvreur refused the last rites of religion, and 
buried with the burial of a dog, " because she was 
an actress," his thoughts wandered to the generous 
and large-hearted citizens who laid the coffin of 
Anne Oldfield beside the coffins of their kings and 
of their heroes. 

" Ah ! verrai-je toujours ma faible nation, 
Incertaine en ses voeux, fletrir ce qu'elle admire ; 
Nos moeurs avec nos lois toujours se contredire : 
Et le Frangais volage endormi sous I'empire 
De la superstition? 
Quoi ! n'est-ce done qu'en Angleterre 
Que les mortels osent penser? 
O rivale d' Athene, O Londres ! heureuse terre ! 
Ainsi que les tyrans, vous avez su chasser 



1 Letter XXIII. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 53 

Les prejuges honteux qui vous livraient la guerre. 
C'est \h qu'on salt lout dire, ct tout rccompenser; 
Nul art n'est meprisc, tout succbs a sa gloire. 
Le vainqueur de Tallard, le fils de la Victoire, 
Le sublime Dryden, et le sage Addison, 
Et la charmante Oldfield, et rimmortel Newton, 

Ont part au temple de m^moire ; 
Et Lecouvreur a Londres aurait eu des tombeaux 
Parmi les beaux-esprits, les rois et les h^ros. 
Quiconque a des talents a Londres est un grand homme." 

— ' La Mort de Mile. Lecouvreur." ^ 

He pushed his inquiries in all directions, and \ 

surveyed us on all sides. Of the horse-races at 
Newmarket, at which he took care to be present, 
he gives a very vivid account, pausing to notice 
that people of quality were not ashamed either to 
be jockeys, or, forgetting their magnificence, to cheat 
like jockeys in their betting.^ In the eleventh of 
the Philosophical Letters he discusses, with true 
philanthropic enthusiasm, the recently introduced 
inoculation for smallpox, praising in the highest 
terms Lady Mary Wortley Montague, who had the 
courage to try it on her own son, and Queen Caroline, 
who followed her example in experimenting on the 
young Princess of Wales. 

At the end of July he obtained permission from 
the French Government to visit Paris, but it was 
on the understanding that he was not to remain 

^ CEiivres Completes^ vol. ix. p. 370. ^ JUd.^ vol. xxii. p. 23. 



54 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

there for more than nine months, counting from 
the day of his arrival. If that time was exceeded, 
it was exceeded at his peril. This permission must 
have been re-granted in consequence of some 
request on the part of Voltaire ; indeed, he himself 
speaks of having "snatched it," and his reason for 
asking is no doubt explained by a passage in a 
letter of his to Thieriot dated from Wandsworth 
on the 15th of June. He tells him that the Henriade 
must be printed somewhere secretly, and he asks 
him where it could so be printed; **it must be in 
France, in some country town. I question whether 
Rouen would be a proper place. ... If you know 
any place where I may print my book: with security 
I beseech you let me know of it, but let nobody be 
acquainted with the secret of my being in France " ; 
adding, " I should be exceedingly glad of seeing you 
again, but I would see nobody else in the world. I 
would not be so much as suspected of having set 
my foot in your country, nor of having thought of 
it." He was therefore plainly intending to visit 
France ^ for the purpose of printing his poem, and 

1 Desnoiresterres asserts that Voltaire did not avail himself of 
the permission given, but remained in England, and this is certainly 
borne out, not only by the absence of any proof of his being away from 
England, but by Voltaire's own letter to Thieriot, absurdly dated by 
the editors 1753, properly to be dated end of 1728 or spring of 
1729. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 55 

no doubt took the precaution of obtaining per- 
mission to do so from the French Government, 
which granted it.^ He then, no doubt, changed his 
mind, and did not avail himself of the favour granted 
him. He had probably seen that the best place for 
him to print it would be London. In any case, 
there is no indication at all of his having left 
England at this time. 



Ill 



Among the Ashburnham MSS.^ there is a curious 
relic of Voltaire's residence in England. It is the 
Commonplace Book in which he entered from time 
to time such things as struck him, either in his 

1 " Maurepas h Voltaire, 29Juinet 1727. — Je vous envoie la permis- 
sion que le roi a bien voulu vous accorder de rester h Paris, vaquer 
a vos affaires pendant neuf mois. Com me ce temps est limite par 
le jour de votre arrivee, vous aurez soin de m'en avertir ; je ne doute 
pas que vous n'y teniez une conduite capable d'effacer les impres- 
sions qu'on a donnees contre vous h Sa Majesty, et que I'avis que je 
vous en donne ne vous touche assez pour y donner toute votre 
attention." — Archives de la Bastille given in Voltaire's (Euvres 
Completes, vol. i. p. 308. In a note to Voltaire's letter to Thieriot, 
(Euvres Completes, xxxiii. p. 173, it is stated that on the 29th 
July — the date of Maurepas' permit, he obtained 'une permission 
datee de Versailles, et signee Phelypeaux," which allowed him three 
months, and not nine. 

2 Barrois, 653. For permission to inspect these most curious 
notes, as some years ago I did, I am indebted to the courtesy and 
kindness of Lord Ashburnham, in whose collection they then were. 



56 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

reading or in what he heard in conversation. The 
memoranda, which are interspersed with extracts 
from Itahan and Latin Poets, are in Enghsh and 
French, and they range from traditionary witti- 
cisms of Rochester, often grossly indecent, and 
from equaUy indecorous anecdotes and verses, 
picked up no doubt in taverns and coffee-houses, 
to notes evidently intended for the dedication 
to BniUis, the Life of Charles XII., and the 
Lettres Philosophiqiies, and to fragments of 
original poems and translations. They unfortun- 
ately throw no light on his personal life, beyond 
communicating the not very important fact that 
he kept a footman. 

The variety and extent of Voltaire's English 
) studies are, considering his comparatively short 
^ residence in this country and his numerous occupa- 
tions during that residence, amazing. He surveyed 
us on all sides, and his survey was not confined to 
the living world before him ; it extended back to 
the world of the past, for, as his writings prove, 
he was versed both in our antiquities and in our 
history. But the subjects which most interested 
\ him were, as was natural, philosophy and polite 
letters. 

In philosophy two great movements were at 
this time passing over England : the one was in 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

^di scientific, the other in a theological or meta- 
physical direction ; the one emanated from Bacon 
and Newton, the other from that school of deists 
which, originating with Herbert and Hobbes, had 
found its modern exponents in Tindal, Toland, 

I Collins, and Woolston. His guides in these studies 
were Bolingbroke and Dr. Samuel Clarke. Of all 
Newton's disciples, Clarke was the most generally- 
accomplished. In theology, in metaphysics, in 
natural science, in mathematics, and in pure 
scholarship he was almost equally distinguished. 
f. He had lived on terms of close intimacy with 
Newton, whose Optics he had translated into 
Latin. He was as minutely versed in the writings 
of Bacon and Locke as in the writings of Descartes 
and Leibnitz ; and of the learned controversies of 

I his time there was scarcely one in which he had not 
taken a leading part. With this eminent man 
Voltaire first came into contact in the autumn of 
1726. At that time their conversation turned 
principally on metaphysics. Voltaire was fascin- 
ated by the boldness of Clarke's views, and blindly 
followed him. In his own expressive phrase, 
** Clarke sautait dans I'abime, et j'osai I'y suivre." 
But he soon recovered himself, and was on firm 
ground again. He afterwards described Clarke as 
absorbed so entirely in problems and calculations 



>\ 



58 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

that he was little more than a mere reasoning 
machine.* 

His acquaintance with Clarke probably led to 
his acquaintance with another distinguished disciple 
of Newton. This was Dr. Henry Pemberton. 
Pemberton was then busy preparing for the press 
the first popular exposition of Newton's system, a 
work which appeared in 1728 under the title of A 
View of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy. It is 
clear that Voltaire had seen this work either in 
proof or in manuscript. For, in a letter to Thieriot, 
datedsome months before the treatise was published, 
he speaks of it in a manner which implies that he 
had inspected it.^ It was most likely under Pem- 
berton's auspices that he commenced the study of 
the Principia and Optics, which he afterwards 
resumed more seriously at Cirey. That the work 
was of immense service to him in his Newtonian 
studies is certain. Indeed, his own account of the 
Newtonian philosophy in the Lettres Philoso- 
phiques and in the Elements de la Philosophie 
de Newton is in a large measure based on Pem- 
berton's exegesis. 

From Newton, whose " Metaphysics" disgusted 

" Lettres Philosophiques^ vii. 

'^Letter to Thieriot, 27th May 1727; CEuvres Completes, vol. 
xxxiii. p. 173. 



/ 



! VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 59 

him, he proceeded to Locke. Locke's " Essay" he 
perused and reperused with dehght. It became his 
philosophical gospel. In his writings and in his 
conversation he scarcely ever refers to it except 
in terms of almost extravagant eulogy ; and to 
Locke he remained loyal to the last. '' For thirty 
years/' he writes in a letter dated July 1768, " I 
have been persecuted by a crowd of fanatics 
because I said that Locke is the Hercules of meta- 
physics who has fixed the boundaries of the human 
mind." ^ Again, in the SUcle de Louis XIV. : "Locke 
seul a developpe I'entendement humain, dans un 
livre ou il n'y a que des verites," adding happily, 
"et ce qui rend I'ouvrage parfait toutes ces verites 
sont claires." ^ His acquaintance with Bacon was 
probably slight, and what he knew of his Latin 
works was, we suspect, what he had picked up in 
conversation from Bolingbroke and Clarke. No man 
who had read the Novum Organum would speak 
of it as Voltaire speaks of it in his Twelfth Letter. 
But Bacon's English writings, the Essays, that 
is to say, and the History of Henry VII., he had 
certainly consulted. He appears also to have 
turned over the works of Hobbes and Cudworth. 

^ See the very interesting letter to Horace Walpole printed in the 
appendix to the Historical Mejnoirs of the Author of the Henriade. 
2 Chap, xxxix. 



1/ 



\J 



6o VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

Berkeley he knew personally, and though he was, 
he said, willing to profess himself one of that great 
, philosopher's admirers, he was not inclined to be- 
come one of his disciples. How carefully he had 
read Alciphron is proved by his letter to Andrew 
Pitt.^ His remarks in that letter on Berkeley's 
treatise are so curious and acute that it may be 
well to give them. 

" I have read out the whole book : your mind 
and mine do not deal in insincerity ; therefore 1 
must tell you plainly that the Doctor's sagacity has 
pleased more than convinced me. I admire his 
acute genius without assenting to him ; and will 
profess myself one of his admirers, but not of his 
disciples. In short, good Sir, I believe in God, not 
in priests ; it appears too plainly that this is a 
party book, rather than a religious book. The 
Doctor endeavours to draw his readers to himself 
rather than to religion. In many places he is more 
captious and acute than solid and judicious. I 
have known the man ; he is certainly a learned 
philosopher and delicate wit. I thank you ex- 
tremely again for the present." 

Nor did his indefatigable curiosity rest here. 
He took a lively interest in natural science, and 

1 This interesting letter, written in English, is printed in Leonard 
Howard's Collection of Letters^ p. 604. Howard's character was not 
above suspicion, but there seems no reason for questioning the 
genuineness of this letter, the original of which was, he says, in the 
hands of one of his friends. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 6i 

was acquainted with several members of the Royal 
Society, and particularly with the venerable Pre- 
sident, Sir Hans Sloane, to whom he presented a 
copy of the English Essays.^ Of that society he 
was some years after elected a Fellow, an honour 
which he greatly appreciated.^ 

But what most engaged his attention was the 
controversy then raging between the opponents and 
the apologists of Christianity. It was now at its 
height. Upwards of two years had passed since 
Anthony ColHns had pubHshed his Discourse on the 
Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion. No  
work of that kind had made so deep an impression 
on the public mind. It had been denounced from 
the pulpit ; it had elicited innumerable replies from 
the press. Other works of a similar kind succeeded, 
each in its turn aggravating the controversy. In 
1727 appeared, dedicated to the Bishop of London, 
the first of Woolston's Six Discourses on the 
Miracles of Christ, a work which brought into the 
field the most distinguished ecclesiastics then living. 
Most probably Voltaire owed infinitely more to 
Bolingbroke than to all the other English deists 



^ See the copy with the autograph inscription in the British 
Museum. 

2 He was elected a Fellow on November 3, 1743. Archives of 
the Royal Society. 



62 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

put together, but how carefully he had followed 
the course of this controversy is obvious from 
innumerable passages in his subsequent writings. 
Of Woolston in particular he always speaks with 
great respect, and he has, in an article in the 
Didionnaire Philosophique, given a long and 
appreciative account of the labours of that cour- 
ageous freethinker. Nor was his admiration con- 
fined to mere eulogy, for when, three years later, 
Woolston was imprisoned and fined for his heterodox 
opinions, Voltaire at once wrote off from France 
offering to be responsible for a third of the sum 
required.^ 

In the winter of 1727 he published a little 
volume, which is not only among the curiosities, 
but among the marvels of literature. The volume 
contained two essays. The first was entitled " An 
Essay upon the Civil Wars in France," the other, 
] " An Essay upon Epic Poetry." ^ Both these 
essays are composed in English — not in such 
English as we should expect to find written by one 



^ Duvernet, Vie de Voltaire, p. 72. 

^ This was An Essay upoti the Civil Wars of France. Extracted 

frotn Curious Manuscripts. A?id also upon the Epick Poetry of 

the European Nations, from Homer doivn to Milton. By M. de 

Voltaire. London : Printed by Samuel Jallasso7i in Prujean^s 

Court, Old Bailey, and sold by the Booksellers of London and 

Westminster, M.DCCXXVIL 



I 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 63 

who had acquired the language, but in such EngUsh 
as would in truth have reflected no discredit on 
Dry den or Swift. If we remember that at the 
time when he accomplished this feat he had only 
been eighteen months in England, and that he was, 
as he informs us in the preface, writing in a language 
which he was scarcely able to follow in conversa- 
tion, his achievement may be fairly pronounced to 
be without parallel in linguistic triumphs.^ As the 
work is neither generally known nor very accessible, 
it may be well to transcribe a short extract from 
each discourse. The first essay is an historical 
sketch of the civil troubles in France between the 
accession of Francis the Second and the reconcili- 
ation of Henry the Fourth with the Church of Rome. 
The character and position of the Protestants are 
thus described — 

*' The Protestants began then to grow numerous, 
and to be conscious of their strength. The super- 
stition, the dull, ignorant knavery of the monks, 
the overgrown power of Rome, men's passions for 
novelty, the ambition of Luther and Calvin, the 
policy of many princes — all these had given rise 
and countenance to this sect, free indeed from 

^ He told Martin Sherlock that he was never able to pronounce 
the English language perfectly, but that his ear was sensitively alive 
to the harmony of the language and the poetry. — Letters from an 
English Traveller (Letter XXV.). 



64 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

superstition, but running as headlong towards 
anarchy as the Church of Rome towards tyranny. 
The Protestants had been unmercifully persecuted 
in France, but it is the ordinary effect of persecu- 
tion to make proselytes. Their sect increased 
every day amidst the scaffolds and tortures. Conde, 
Coligni, the two brothers of Coligni, all their 
adherents, all who were opposed by the Guises, 
turned Protestants at once. They united their 
griefs, their vengeance, and their interests together, 
so that a revolution both in the State and in religion 
was at hand." 

The second essay, which is a dissertation on 
Epic Poetry, and a review of the principal epic 
poems of antiquity and of modern Europe, is a 
piece not unworthy of a place beside the best of 
Dryden's prefaces. The remarks on Virgil, Lucan, 
and Tasso are admirable, and the critique on Para- 
dise Lost, which is described as " the noblest work 
which human imagination hath ever attempted," 
gives us a higher idea of Voltaire's critical powers 
than any of his French writings. His vindication 
of Milton's poem against some of the objections 
urged against it so characteristically by the French 
critics, his remarks on Milton's conception and 
picture of the Deity, and on the grand unity of the 
work amid its endless variety, would indeed have 
done honour to Longinus. It is with something 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 65 

like surprise that we find the future author of La 
Pucelle capable of criticism so delicately discrimin- 
ating as the following — 

" It is observable that in all other poems love 
is represented as a vice, in Milton only 'tis a virtue. 
The pictures he draws of it are naked as the persons 
he speaks of, and as venerable. He removes with 
a chaste hand the veil which covers everywhere 
else the enjoyments of that passion. There is 
softness, tenderness, and warmth without lascivious- 
ness ; the poet transports himself into that state of 
innocent happiness in which Adam and Eve con- 
tinued for a short time. He soars not above human 
but above corrupt nature ; and as there is no in- 
stance of such love, there is none of such poetry." 

The objections he raises to the conduct of the 
fiction in the description of the pandemonium of 
the allegory of Sin and Death, of the bridge built by 
Death and Sin, and of the war in Heaven, show an 
acuteness which was probably not lost on Johnson 
when in his famous critique he traversed the same 
ground. But Voltaire holds the scales quite fairly, 
admitting that *' there are perfections enough in 
Milton to atone for all his defects." It is indeed 
extraordinary to compare this acute and temperate 
criticism of Milton with the remarks on Paradise Lost 
in Candide,^ though what he puts into the mouth of 

1 Chap. XXV. When he wrote the criticism on Milton in the 
5 



66 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

Pococurante is perhaps not designed to be taken 
seriously. 

For the account of Camoens he is said to 
have been indebted to Colonel Martin Bladen. 
" I remember," says Warton in his notes on the 
Dunciad, " that Collins the poet told me that [his 
uncle] Bladen had given to Voltaire all that account 
of Camoens inserted in his Essay on the Epic Poets, 
and that Voltaire seemed before entirely ignorant 
of the name and character of Camoens." ^ Indeed, 
the whole treatise well deserves attentive study. 
The purity, vigour, and elegance of the style will 
be at once evident from the following extract, which 
is, we may add, a fair average sample — 

'* The greatest part of the critics have filched 
the rules of epic poetry from the books of Homer, 
according to the custom, or rather to the weakness, 
of men who mistake commonly the beginning of an 
art for the principles of the art itself, and are apt to 
believe that everything must be by its own nature 

Steele de Louis XIV., chap, xxiv., he had certainly cooled in his 
admiration of him. 

1 Warton's Pope, vol. v. p. 284. Though Warton has in this passage 
confused Martin Bladen, the translator of Ccesar's Commetitaries, 
with Edmund Bladen, who was Collins' uncle, there is no reason for 
doubting the substantial truth of what he reports. That Colonel 
Martin Bladen had some special acquaintance with Spanish and 
Portuguese seems certain, from the fact that in 1 7 1 7 he was offered 
the Envoyship Extraordinary to the Court of Spain, and that in his 
will he leaves legacies to Dr. de Arboleda and Josias Luberdo. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 67 

what it was when contrived at first. But as Homer 
wrote two poems of a quite different nature, and 
as the Mneid of Virgil partakes of the Iliad 
and of the Odyssey, the commentators were 
forced to estabUsh different rules to reconcile 
Homer with himself, and other new rules again to 
make Virgil agree with Homer, just as the astron- 
omers laboured under the necessity of adding to 
or taking from their systems, and of bringing in 
concentric and eccentric circles, as they discovered 
new motions in the heavens. The ignorance of the 
ancients was excusable, and their search after the 
unfathomable system of nature was to be com- 
mended, because it is certain that nature hath its 
own principles, unvariable and unerring, and as 
worthy of our search as remote from our conceptions. 
But it is not with the inventions of art as with the 
works of nature." 

If Voltaire was able after a few months' residence 
in London to produce such prose as this, it is not 
too much to say that he might with time and 
practice have taken his place among our national 
classics. With the exceptions of De Lolme and 
Blanco White, it may be doubted whether any -^..^^.k 
writer to whom English was an acquired language \.\i/\<\^ • 
has achieved so perfect a mastery over it. It is, 
however, not improbable, and indeed very likely, 
that he obtained more assistance in composing 
these essays than his vanity would allow him to 



68 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

own. The Abbe Desfontaines asserts, indeed, that 
the essay on Epic Poetry was composed in 
French, and that it was then translated into 
Enghsh under the superintendence of Voltaire's 
** maitre de langue." ^ But the testimony of that 
mean and malignant man carries little weight, 
and if it had not been at least partially confirmed 
by Spence we should have left it unnoticed. 
What Spence says is this : " Voltaire consulted 
Dr. Young about his essay in English, and begged 
him to correct any gross faults he might find 
in it. The Doctor set very honestly to work, 
marked the passages most liable to censure, and 
when he went to explain himself about them, 
Voltaire could not avoid bursting out a-laughing 
in his face." ^ The reason of this ill-timed merri- 
ment it is not very easy to see ; the anecdote is 
perhaps imperfectly reported. But in spite of 
Desfontaines and Spence, there can be no doubt 
that the Essays are what they pretend to be, the 
genuine work of Voltaire. We have only to turn 
to his English correspondence at this period to see 
that he was quite equal to their production. The 
f little book was favourably received. In the follow- 
ing year a second edition was called for, a third 

1 La Voltairo7nanie, p. 46. 

2 Anecdotes (ed. Singer), p. 285. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 69 

followed at no long interval, and in 1731 it reached a 
fourth ; a Discourse on Tragedy, which is merely 
a translation of the French Discours sur la Tragedie 
prefixed to Brutus, being added. And it long held 
its own. Its popularity is sufficiently attested by 
the fact that in 1760 it was reprinted at Dublin, with 
a short notice, attributed, but attributed erroneously, 
to Swift, who had of course been long dead. 

Voltaire was not the man to waste his energy 
on the production of a mere tour de force. The , 
volume had an immediate practical object. That | 
object was to prepare the public for the appearance | 
of the Henriade, which was now receiving the 
finishing touches, and was almost ready for the 
printer. It was probably to facilitate its publica- 
tion that he removed about this time (end of 1727) 
from Wandsworth to London, where he resided, 
as the superscriptions of two of his letters show, 
in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, at the sign of 
the White Peruke. Nor is Maiden Lane the only 
part of London associated with Voltaire during 
this period. It would seem that Billiter Square 
is entitled to the honour of having once numbered 
him among its occupants. This we gather from an 
undated letter addressed to John Brinsden, Boling- 
broke's confidential secretary,^ in which Brinsden 

1 Preserved in Collet's Relics of Literature, p. 70. 



70 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

is directed to address his reply to Mr. Cavalier, 
Belitery (sic) Square, by the Royal Exchange, a 
request which Voltaire would scarcely have made 
had he not been residing there. In Billiter Square, 
which is described by a contemporary topographer 
as " a very handsome, open, and airy place, with 
good new brick buildings," he would be within 
a few paces of his agents, Messrs. Simon and 
Benezet. 

Of the many letters which were doubtless written 
by him at this time, some have been preserved. 
One is addressed to Swift, to whom he had a few 
months before given a letter of introduction to the 
Comte de Morville. He sends him a copy of the 
Essays, professes himself a great admirer of his 
writings, informs him that the Henriade is 
almost ready, and asks him to exert his interest to 
procure subscribers in Ireland. In another letter 
he solicits the patronage of the Earl of Oxford, 
informing him of the distinguished part which one 
of his ancestors plays in the Henriade, alluding 
to his own personal acquaintance with Achilles de 
Harley, and importuning the Earl to grant him 
the favour of an interview.^ With Thieriot, on 
whom he relied to push the poem in France, he 

^ Unprinted letter among the manuscripts at Longleat, for a 
copy of which I am indebted to the kindness of the hbrarian. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 71 

regularly corresponded. Meanwhile popular curi- 
osity was stimulated by successive advertisements 
in the newspapers, and in January 1728 an elaborate 
puff appeared in the columns of the leading literary 
periodical : ** We hope every day," so runs the 
notice, " to see Mr. de Voltaire's Henriade. He 
has greatly raised the expectations of the curious 
by a beautiful Essay he lately published upon 
the Civil Wars of France, which is the subject of 
his Poem, and upon the Epic Poets, from Homer 
down to Milton. As this gentleman seems to be 
thoroughly acquainted with all the best poets, 
both ancient and modern, and judges so well of 
their beauties and faults, we have reason to hope 
that the Henriade will be a finished perform- 
ance ; and as he writes with uncommon elegance 
and force in English, though he has been but 
eighteen months in this country, we expect to find 
in his poem all that beauty and strength of which 
his native language is capable." ^ 

All through the summer and winter of 1727 he 
was hard at work on the manuscript or the proofs.* 
But this was not the only task he had in hand. 
He was busy with his Essai sur la Poesie Epique, 
which is not, he is careful to explain, a trans- 

^ Present State of the Republic of Letters , vol. i. p. 88. 
2 Letter to Thieriot, dated August 1728. 



72 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

lation of his English essay, but an independent 
work, a work of which the Enghsh essay was to be 
regarded as the prehminary sketch.^ It was after- 
wards prefixed to the Henriade. A comparative 
study of the two will show with what skill he adapts 
himself, even as a critic, to the countrymen of 
Boileau and Racine on the one hand, and to the 
countrymen of Milton and Addison on the other. 
Meanwhile, at the end of April or at the beginning 
of March, he had written to the French Ambassador, 
the Comte de Broglie, asking him to subscribe 
and obtain subscriptions for the Henriade. But 
De Broglie, whose official position made caution 
imperative, thought that before replying he had 
better consult Morville. Accordingly he wrote 
him the following letter — 






From London, March 3, 1727. 
Sir, — The Sieur de Voltaire, whom you did 
me the honour to recommend to me, and in favour 
of whom you sent me letters of recommenda- 
tion introducing him to the ministers of the Court, 
is about to print in London, by subscription, his 
poem on the League. He asks me to secure sub- 
scribers for him, and M. de Walpole does his very 
best on his part to get him as many as possible. 
I should greatly like to please him, but I have 
not seen the work, and I do not know whether 

1 See his English letter to Thieriot, dated 14th of June 1727. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 73 

the Court will approve of the additions and sup- 
pressions he has introduced into the text given 
to the public at Paris, and of the plates he has 
ordered to be sent from thence in order to adorn 
the same. I told him, therefore, that I could not 
meddle with his undertaking till I knew whether 
you liked it or not. I am always afraid that^ 
French authors should be tempted to make a 
wrongful use of the liberty they enjoy in a country 
like this, to write all that comes into their mindj 
concerning religion, the Pope, the Government, or! 
/ the members of it. Poets especially are wont to 
use such licence without caring much whether or 
no they cast obloquy upon what is most sacred. 
And if there were anything of that sort in this poem 
I should not like to incur the blame of having 
subscribed to it and recommended others to do the 
same. I most humbly beseech you. Sir, to be so 
good as to send me instructions concerning the 
line I must follow in this circumstance. I shall 
conform my conduct to what you will do me the 
honour to prescribe. — I have, etc. 

" Broglie." ' 

The reply to this letter from Morville appears 
to be lost, but as the name of De Broglie does 

1 This letter was discovered by M. J. J. Jusserand in the 
Archives of the French Foreign Office, vol. ccclviii., and printed 
by him in his English Essays from a French Fen. The original is 
Appendix IV. of that work, the translation of which, in the body of 
the Essay, I have taken the liberty to borrow (p. 199). For the 
original, see Appendix. 



74 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

not appear among the list of subscribers to the 
Henriade, it was probably thought prudent not to 
accede to the request. 

At last the Henriade was ready. It was 
first announced, in a succession of advertisements, 
that it would appear in February (1728) ; it was 
then announced in a second succession of advertise- 
ments that it would appear in March, and in 
March it was published. The subscribers had at 
first been alarmingly slow in coming forward ; but 
when the day of publication arrived the names 
on the subscription list amounted to three hundred 
and forty-four ; and among the subscribers were 
the King, the Queen, and the heads of almost all 
the noble families connected with the Court. In 
its first form the poem had been dedicated to 
Louis XV. That dedication was now cancelled, 
and a dedication, written in flowing English, to 
Queen Caroline was substituted. Descartes, said 
the poet, had inscribed his Principles to the 
Princess Palatine Elizabeth, not because she was 
a princess, but because of all his readers she under- 
stood him best ; he too, without presuming to 
compare himself to Descartes, had ventured to 
lay his work at the feet of a Queen who was not 
only a patroness of all arts and sciences, but the 
best judge of them also. He reminded her that 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 75 

an English Queen, the great EHzabeth, " who was 
in her age the glory of her sex and the pattern of 
sovereigns," had been the protectress of Henry IV. ; 
And by whom, he asked, " can the memory of 
Henry be so well protected as by one who so much 
resembles Elizabeth in her personal virtues ? " 
He promised her that she would " find in this 
book bold, impartial truths, morality sustained with 
superstition, a spirit of liberty equally abhorrent 
of rebellion and of tyranny, the rights of Kings 
always asserted, and those of mankind never laid 
aside." 

The Queen was not insensible of the honour 
which had been paid her, and the fortunate 
poet received a substantial mark of the royal 
gratitude. It is not easy to determine the exact 
sum. Voltaire himself states it to have been two 
thousand crowns {ecus), which would, supposing 
he means English crowns, have been equivalent 
to five hundred pounds sterling. Baculard says it 
was " six mille livres." ^ Nor was this all. The 
King honoured him with his intimacy, and invited 
him to his private supper-parties.^ Goldsmith 
adds, but adds erroneously, that the Queen pre- 

1 Preface d'une edition des (Euvres de M. de Voltaire (Long- 
champ et Wagnibre), vol. ii. p. 492. 

2 Ibid.., same page. 



76 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

sented him with her portrait. A portrait of Queen 
CaroHne Voltaire certainly possessed, but it was a 
medallion, and it came to him, not from the Queen 
herself, but through the hands of the Countess de la 
Lippe from the Queen of Prussia/ His gratitude to 
the hospitable country which had sheltered him, 
and to its sovereigns, as well as his sincere admira- 
tion of its government, found eloquent and happy 
expression in the poem, for all that he applies to 
Elizabeth, and to the England of Elizabeth, he 
makes as obviously applicable to his own royal 
patrons and to the England of their day. No 
Englishman, indeed, could have read such a passage 
as the following without feeling that the young 
poet had made a very handsome return for the 
kindness he had received from his own country's 
ancient and inveterate foes — 

"En voyant I'Angleterre, en secret il admire 
Le changement heureux de ce puissant Empire, 
Ou r^ternel abus de tant de sages lois 
Fit longtemps le malheur et du peuple et des rois. 
Sur ce sanglant theatre ou cent hdros p^rirent 
Sur ce trone glissant dont cent rois descendirent, 
Une femme, a ses pieds, enchainant les destins, 
De I'^clat de son regne etonnait les humains. 
C'^tait Elisabeth : elle dont la prudence 
De I'Europe h. son choix fit pencher la balance, 
Et fit aimer son joug a I'Anglais indomptd, 
Qui ne peut ni servir, ne vivre en liberty. 

^ Voltaire, Correspondance Generale, 22nd July 1728. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 77 

Ses peuples sous son r^gne ont oublid leurs pertes ; 

De leurs troupeaux ftJconds, leurs plaines sont couvertes, 

Les gu^rets de leurs bl^s, les mers de leurs vaisseaux : 

lis sont craints sur la terre, ils sont rois sur les eaux ; 

Leur flotte imperieuse, asservissant Neptune, 

Des bouts de I'univers appelle la fortune : 

Londres, jadis barbare, est le centre des arts, 

Le magasin du monde, et le temple de Mars. 

Aux murs de Westminster on voit paraitre ensemble 

Trois pouvoirs ^tonnes du noeud que les rassemble, 

Les deputes du peuple, et les grands et le roi, 

Divises d'interets, reunis par la loi ; 

Tous trois membres sacres de ce corps invincible, 

Dangereux h lui-meme, a ses voisins terrible ; 

Heureux, lorsque le peuple, instruit dans son devoir, 

Respecte, autant qu'il doit, le souverain pouvoir ! 

Plus heureux, lorsque qu'un roi, doux, juste et politique 

Respecte, autant qu'il doit, la liberte publique ! " ^ 

Nor need the sincerity of this glowing rhetoric 
be suspected, for what he here expresses in verse 
he has over and over again with equal emphasis 
expressed in prose. 

The poem succeeded beyond his most sanguine 
expectation. He had certainly no reason to com- 
plain of the way in which his English friends 
supported him. The subscribers numbered three 
hundred and forty-four, many of them taking 
several copies ; Peterborough and Bolingbroke, for 
example, took each of them twenty copies, and 
Chesterfield ten. The list comprises almost every 
distinguished person in the political, social, and 

^ La Hetiriade, Chant i. ad fi>i. 



78 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

literary world of those times, with the exception 
of Pope, whose name, strangely enough, does not 
appear. Every copy of the quarto impression 
was disposed of before the day of publication. 
In the octavo form three editions were exhausted 
in less than three weeks — " and this I attribute," 
he says in a letter to a friend, " entirely to the 
happy choice of the subject, and not to the merit 
of the poem itself." Owing to the carelessness of 
Thieriot he lost the subscription money due to 
him from France, but the sum realised in England 
was undoubtedly considerable. It has been 
variously estimated : Nicolardot, in his Menage et 
Finances de Voltaire, calculates it to have been ten 
thousand francs ; and that is the lowest com- 
putation. Baculard asserts that from the quarto 
edition [edition imprimee par souscriptions) alone 
the poet cleared ten thousand crowns. Perhaps we 
should not be far wrong if we estimated the sum, 
including the money received from George II., at 
two thousand pounds sterling. Whatever it was, it 
formed the nucleus of the most princely fortune ever 
yet amassed by a man of letters. ^^ The publication 

/ 

^ Carlyle {Life of Frederick, vol. iii. p. 220) computes Voltaire's 
annual income, acquired not by his writings but by his " finance 
talent " during his latter years, to have been, according to the money 
value of the present day, about ;!^2 0,000 ; but this seems incredible. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 79 

of the Henriade involved Voltaire in a very dis- 
agreeable controversy with two of his countrymen. 
He had out of pure kindness given permission to 
one Coderc, a publisher in little Newport Street, 
near Leicester Fields, to print an edition of the 
poem for his own benefit ; of this permission Coderc 
made an assignment to another publisher named 
Prevost. Accordingly in March 1728, almost im- 
mediately after the appearance of the authentic 
editions, appeared in the Daily Post an announce- 
ment of a new issue of the Henriade. It was 
printed — so it was stated — with the author's privi- 
lege, and to the advertisement a postscript was 
added to the effect that the poem now appeared 
for the first time uncastrated and in its integrity. 
All that Prevost had really done was to substitute 
six bad verses, taken from the poem in its earlier 
form, for six good verses in the later recension. 
Voltaire, justly annoyed at this audacious stratagem 
on the part of a piratical bookseller, at once replied 
by inserting a counter advertisement both in the 
Daily Post and in the Daily Journal : " This is to 
give notice that I never gave any privilege to 
Prevost, but I was betrayed into such kindness for 
one Coderc as to grant him leave of printing my 
book for his own benefit, provided he should sell 
none before mine had been delivered. It is a 



8o VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

thing unheard of that a bookseller dares to sell 
my own work in another manner than I have 
printed it, and call my own edition castrated. The 
truth of the matter is^ that he has printed six bad 
and insignificant low lines, which were not mine, 
printed in a former edition of La Ligue, and in 
the room of which there are six others a great deal 
bolder and stronger in the Henriade." ^ To this 
Prevost replied in the columns of the same paper, 
defending the course he had taken, and flatly con- 
tradicting what Voltaire asserted. The two notices 
continued to appear in the advertisement sheet of 
the Daily Post till the end of March. ^ 
/ There can be no doubt that this controversy 
was of great service in advertising the poem. It 
is, indeed, by no means unlikely that the whole 
thing was got up by Voltaire for that purpose. 
He certainly bore Prevost no ill-will afterwards. 
With Prevost, as we gather from a letter written 
by Voltaire to Peter des Maizeaux, which was 
printed, though not very correctly, in Collet's Relics 
of Literature, p. 367, he had another grievance, 
and, as the letter illustrates Voltaire's alertness and 

1 Daily Post, March 21, 1728. 

2 For the controversy, see advertisement sheets of the Daily 
Post from 2ist March to 30th March, and of the Daily Journal 
of same date. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 8i 

prudence in business affairs, it may be well to 
insert it. The original, which is undated, is among 
the Sloane MSS. in the British Museum.^ I give 
a transcript of it — 

" I hear Prevost hath a mind to bring you a 
second time as an evidence against me. He sais 
j have told you j had given him five and twenty 
books for 30 guineas, j remember very well, 
S', j told you at rainbow's coffee - house that j 
had given him twenty subscription receipts for 
the henriade and received 30 guineas down ; but 
j never meant to have parted with 30 copies at 
three guineas each, for 31 pounds, j have agreed 
with him upon quite another foot ; and j am 
not such a fool (tho' a writer) to give away all 
my property to a bookseller. 

" Therefore j desire you to remember that j never 
told you of my having made so silly a bargain, 
j told, 3 own, j had £30 or some equivalent 
down, but j did not say 'twas all the bargain, this 
j insist upon and beseech you to recollect our 
conversation : for j am sure j never told a tale so 
contrary to truth, to reason, and to my interest, 
j hope you will not back the injustice of a book- 
seller who abuses you against a man of honour 
who is your humble servant, " Voltaire." 

The money realised from the sale of the Henriade 
was the more acceptable as it was sorely needed. 

1 Sloane MSS. 4288, fol. 229. 



82 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

For upwards of a year Voltaire had been in strait- 
ened circumstances. To live in society was then 
an expensive luxury, and the expenses were greatly 
swelled by the fees which the servants of the 
aristocracy were permitted to levy on their masters' 
.guests. At no house in London did the abuse 
reach a higher pitch than at Lord Chesterfield's ; and 
Voltaire, who dined there once, was so annoyed at 
the imposition, that, on Chesterfield asking him to 
repeat his visit, he declined, sarcastically adding 
that his lordship's ordinary was too dear.^ His 
wretched health had, moreover, necessitated 
medical attendance, and thus had added greatly to 
his expenses. As early as February 1727 we find 
him complaining of these difficulties to Thieriot : 
" Vous savez peut-etre que les banqueroutes sans 

^ John Taylor's Memoirs, vol. i. p. 330 ; and for these monstrous 
impositions, see De Saussure : " If you wish to pay your respects 
to a nobleman, and to visit him, you must give his porter money 
from time to time, else his master will never be at home to you. 
If you take a meal with a person of rank you must give every one 
of the five or six footmen a coin when leaving. They will be ranged 
in file in the hall, and the least you can give them is one shilling 
each, and should you fail to do this you will be treated insolently 
the next time. My Lord Southwell stopped me one day in the 
Park, and reproached me most amicably with my having let some 
time pass before going to his house to take soup with him. ' In 
truth, my lord,' I answered, ' I am not rich enough to take soup 
with you often.' His lordship understood my meaning and smiled." 
— Letters, p. 194. PoUnitz complains bitterly of the same thing. 
— Memoirs, vol. ii. pp. 464, 465. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 83 

ressources que j'ai essuyees en Angleterre " (a 
reference, of course, to his mishap with Acosta), 
" le retranchement de mes rentes, la perte de mes 
pensions, et les depenses que m'ont cotitees les 
maladies dont j'ai ete accable ici, m'ont reduit a 
un etat bien dur." ^ He was now enabled to relieve 
the necessities of his unfortunate fellow-countrymen, 
many of whom were assisted by him when he was 
in London, particularly one St. Hyacinthe.^ 

When the poem was passing through the press 
a curious incident occurred. A proof-sheet of the 
first page had by some accident found its way into 
the hands of Theocharis Dadichi, a very distin- 
guished modern linguist and Oriental scholar, who 
afterwards became his Majesty's interpreter of the 
Oriental languages.^ The poem then opened, not 
with the simple ringing verses with which it now 
opens, but with a series of verses of which the 
first couplet may serve as a specimen — 

"Je chante les combats et ce roi g^nereux 
Qui for9a les Frangais k devenir heureux." 

^ Correspondance Generale, 1727. ^ Duvernet, p. 72. 

3 Of this Dadichi, of whom Voltaire's biographers appear to 
know nothing beyond the name, which they mis-spell, there is an 
interesting account in ^yxova^s Journal {Chetham Society^ vol. i. part i. 
p. 184). Byrom, who also mis-spells his name, met him in London, 
and was amazed at his linguistic attainments. The catalogue of his 
library, which was sold after his death, is in the Bodleian Library. 



84 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

Dadichi, whose taste had been formed on purer 
models, was justly offended by this obscure and 
forced epigram. He made his way to Voltaire's 
residence, and abruptly announcing himself as the 
** countryman of Homer," proceeded to inform him 
that Homer never opened his poems with strokes 
of wit and enigmas. Voltaire had the good sense 
to take the hint given him by his eccentric visitor, 
and the lines were altered into the Hues with which 
all the world is famihar.^ 

It is surprising that there should have been 
no notice or critique of the poem in journals 
then current in London ; if there were, they have 
escaped a careful search. In 1729, however, there 
appeared, appended to an odd sort of Hterary and 
historical periodical called the Herculean Labour, 
or the AugcBan Stable, conducted and written 
by one of Pope's butts, the notorious John Ozell, a 
translation of the first canto into rhymed heroic 
couplets, from Ozell' s hand. But before the year 
was out there appeared, in an edition pubHshed 
by a firm in Russell Street, Covent Garden, some 
remarks which are, no doubt, a fair indication of 
the impression made by the poem on the mind of 
contemporary England. The writer, who writes in 

1 For this anecdote, see Henriade, Variantes du Chant Premier ; 
(Euvres Completes, vol. viii. p. 59. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 85 

French, begins by observing that as a rule he cares 
little for French poetry ; it lacks energy, and it is 
monotonous, but in the Henriade he discerns 
qualities which he has not discerned elsewhere in 
the verse of Frenchmen : it is various, brilliant, and 
forcible. But he is, he says, at a loss to understand 
how a poet whose conception of the Deity is so 
wise and noble could have selected for his hero a 
character so contemptible as Henri Quatre, who 
was not merely a Papist, but a Papist " par l^che 
inter^t." ^ He is angry that Voltaire should, 
throughout the poem, lean so decidedly to the side 
of Popery ; he is still more angry that he should 
have placed on the same footing Popery and Pro- 
testantism, — for the essence of Popery, he observes, 
is intolerance, and the essence of Protestantism is 
enlightened toleration. " You arrived in our 
island," he goes on to say, " with a book against 
our religion, and we received you with open arms ; 
our King and our Queen presented you with money. 
I wonder," he continues, " how an Englishman who 
introduced himself to Cardinal Fleury with an 
attack on Popery would be likely to fare." He 

^ "Za Hefiriade de M". de Voltaire. Seconde edition revue, 
corrigde et augment^e de Remarques critiques sur cet Ouvrage. 
A Londres chez Woodman et Lyon, dans Russel Street, Covent 
Garden, 1728." 



86 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

concludes by hoping that Voltaire will continue to 
reside in England, and he exhorts him to prepare 
" une nouvelle edition moins Papiste de la 
Henriade." This critique purported to be the work 
of an English nobleman. In Paris it was generally 
believed, or at least circulated, that it was written 
by himself. It was only there, he bitterly observes, 
that any one could think him capable of producing 
such rubbish, philosophically but cynically adding : 
" les sots jugements et les foUes opinions du vulgaire 
ne rendront point malheureux un homme qui a ap- 
pris a supporter les malheurs reels ; et qui meprise 
les grands pent bien mepriser les sots." ^ It was 
in reality the work of a French refugee named 
Faget, whom Voltaire described to Thieriot as an 
' enthusiastic who knows neither good English nor 
French.' Voltaire was greatly amused at being 
taken for a Catholic propagandist.^ " You will 
see," he writes in a letter to a friend in France, 

^ To Thieriot, 4th August 1728. CEuvres Completes, vol. xxxiii. 
p. 181. 

2 And it is not less amusing to us to find him thus writing to 
Pere Poree : "Surtout, mon reverend pere, je vous supplie instamment 
de vouloir m'instruire si j'ai parle de la religion comme je le dois ; 
car, s'il y a sur cet article quelques expressions qui vous deplaisent 
ne doutez pas que je ne les corrige k la premiere edition que Ton 
pourra faire encore de mon poeme. J'ambitionne votre estime, non 
seulement comme auteur mais comme Chretien." — Correspondance 
Ginerale, Annee 1728; CEuvres Completes, vol. xxxiii. p. 183. 



\ 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 87 

" by some annotations tacked to my book, and 
fathered upon an English lord, that I am here a 
confessor of CathoHc rehgion." To this criticism 
he made no reply during his residence in England, 
but, on its reappearance under another title in an 
edition 1 of the Henriade printed at The Hague, he 
answered it. 

Meanwhile he had spared no pains to acquire 
colloquial English, and to converse with the vulgar 
in their own language, as many years afterwards 
he demonstrated in a curious way to Pennant, the 
antiquar}^ Pennant visited him at Ferney in 1765. 
Voltaire's English had grown by then a little rusty 
from misuse ; but, says Pennant, in his attempt to 1 .. 
speak English he satisfied us that he was a perfect 
master of our oaths and of our curses.^ 

It was probably during his sojourn either in 
Maiden Lane or in Billiter Square that his adroit- 
ness and fluent mastery over our language saved ' 
him from what might otherwise have been an un- 
pleasant adventure. He chanced one day to be 
strolling along the streets, when his peculiar appear- 
ance attracted attention. A crowd collected, and 
some ribald fellow began with jeers and hoots to 
taunt him with being a Frenchman. Nothing is so 
easily excited as the passions of a rabble, and the 

1 T/ie Literary Life of the late Thomas Pennant, p. 6. 



8S VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

passions of a rabble, when their victim is defence- 
less, rarely exhaust themselves in words. The mis- 
creants were already preparing to pelt him with 
mud, and mud would no doubt have been followed 
with missiles of a more formidable kind, but 
Voltaire was equal to the crisis. Boldly confront- 
ing his assailants, he mounted on a stone which 
happened to be at hand, and began an oration of 

^ which the first sentence only has been preserved : 
" Brave Englishmen ! " he cried, "am I not 
sufficiently unhappy in not having been born 

^ among you ? " How he proceeded we know not, 
I but his harangue was, if we are to believe Wagniere, 
so effective that the crowd was not merely appeased, 
but eager to carry him on their shoulders in triumph 
to his lodgings.^ This was not the only occasion 
on which he experienced the rudeness with which 
the vulgar were in those days accustomed to treat 
his countrymen. He happened to be taking the 
air on the river, when one of the men in charge of 
the boat, perceiving that his passenger was a 
Frenchman, began to boast of the superior privileges 
enjoyed by English subjects ; he belonged, he said, 
not to a land of slaves, but to a land of freemen. 
Warming with his theme, the fellow concluded his 
offensive remarks by exclaiming with an oath that 
^ Longchamp and Wagniere, vol. i. p. 23. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 89 

he would rather be a boatman on the Thames 
than an Archbishop in France. The sequel of the 
story is amusing. Within a few hours the man 
had been seized by a press-gang, and next day 
Voltaire saw him at the window of a prison with 
his legs manacled and his hand stretched through 
the bars, craving alms. " What think you now of 
a French Archbishop ? " he cried. ** Ah, sir," 
replied the captive, " the abominable Government 
have forced me away from my wife and children 
to serve in a King's ship, and have thrown me into 
prison and chained my feet for fear I should escape 
before the ship sails." A French gentleman who 
was with Voltaire at the time owned that he felt 
a malicious pleasure at seeing that the English, 
who were so fond of taunting their neighbours with 
servitude, were in truth quite as much slaves them- 
selves. " But I," adds Voltaire in one of those 
noble reflections which so often flash across his 
pages, " felt a sentiment more humane : I was 
grieved to think that there was so little liberty on 
the earth." ^ 

It appears from Atterbury's Correspondence 
that about the time the Henriade was published 
Voltaire had also published an Ode written in 

1 See for the whole story his Letter to M*** ; CEiwres Com- 
pletes (Beuchot), vol. xxxviii. p. 22. . 



90 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

English, but of that Ode, after a most careful 
search, I have been unable to find any trace.^ 

To this period of Voltaire's residence in Eng- 
land belongs a very interesting unpublished letter 
addressed to a Dr. Towne, then in Barbadoes. 
Dr. Towne was probably related to Richard Towne, 
a mercer at York, who was born in 1665 and died 
in 1746. More cannot now be recovered about 
him, but it is clear that he had made the acquaint- 
ance of Voltaire, to whom he appears to have sent, 
in conjunction with some lady, a copy of com- 
plimentary verses, apparently on the occasion of 
the publication of the Henriade. This Voltaire 
acknowledges as follows — 



(( 



Sir, — I have received a copy of verses which I 
am very far from deserving, and for fear of returning 
wretched prose for that poetry, I tell you in few 
words, I long to wait on you and the lady ; in the 
meantime you should answer her for me. Farewell, 
my dear doctor. I am with all my heart. Your 
most humble obedient servant, 

" Voltaire." 

The letter, which is undated, is directed to 
" Dr. Towne, where he is." 

The next letter is of singular interest ; it not 

^ See Atterbury's Correspo?idence, vol. iv. p. 114. Nichols (see 
his note) was equally unsuccessful. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 91 

only shows Voltaire at his best in English com- 
position, but it throws light on his own health and 
condition at this date, and gives some very inter- 
esting particulars about the death of one of the 
most accomplished and distinguished physicians 
which this country has ever produced, Dr. John 
Freind. As Freind died on the 26th of July, this 
letter must either have been begun at one date and 
discontinued, or it must have been inadvertently 
misdated. Towne had, some time before this, gone 
to Barbadoes, and had expressed an intention of 
translating the Henriade into English. Of this 
translation he printed at least a portion, with 
which Voltaire, as we learn from a letter of Peter- 
borough, was "mightily pleased," and of which 
Pope so much approved that in the event of Towne 
determining to publish it he offered to " look it 
over with the utmost care." ^ It does not appear 
that Towne ever completed the version, or ever 
published what he had done of it. 

" At Wandsworth, July 23, 1728. 
" Dear Sir, — I received yesterday your kind and 
witty letter, which was sent to my lord Peterboro 

1 For this account of Voltaire's relations with Dr. Towne, and 
for these hitherto unpublished letters, preserved among his family 
papers, I am indebted to the great kindness of Mr. Henry Ruther- 
ford. For Peterborough's letter to Dr. Towne, i?ifra, p. 1 1 1 and 
Appendix. 



92 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

at the bath. You do me the greatest honour I 
could ever boast of, in bestowing an Enghs dress 
upon my french child. I receive the best reward 
of all my labours if you go on in the generous 
design of translating my undeserving work into a 
language which gives life and strength to all the 
subjects it touches. The henriade has at least in 
itself a spirit of liberty which is not very common 
in france, the language of a free nation as yours 
is the only one that can vigourously express what 
I have but faintly drawn in my native tongue : 
the work will grow under your hands, worthy of 
the british nation, and that tree transplanted in 
your soil and grafted by you will bear a new and a 
better sort of fruit. 

Miraturque novas frondes et non sua poma. 

I wish I could be the happy witness of your labour. 
I assure you, dear Sir, I am strongely tempted of 
coming to barbadoes ; for as the henriade wanted 
to be translated by you, I want a warmer climate 
for my health, which grows worse and worse in 
England. I am sure your advices would mend my 
constitution as well as you mend my poem ; you 
would be my double Apollo. 

Per te concordant nervis (sic) 
et medicina tuum est. 

As I am talking to you about phisic, I must acquaint 
you that doctor friend is a dying for having out- 
phisicd himself ; he took the other day ten ounces 
of herapicra (sic) at once, with some sene (sic), and 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 93 

since that noble experiment he hes speechless. 
This must be looked upon as self-murther. I hope 
you do not deal with your self so violently. I wo 
(sic) you take a better care of y"" health. 

I hear this minute doctor friend is dead. 
Leaving behind him an ample fortune, and a great 
reputation which nothing can lessen but his late 
sickness ; he was the only patient whom he treated 
so ill. 

farewell, dear S' ; in case you are ever so kind 
as to write to me, I desire you to direct your {sic') 
to M". Cavalier, a merchant by the royal exchange. 

I am for ever with sincerity, esteem, and 
gratitude, S', y' very humble, obed. faithfull 
serv. Voltaire. 

So runs in exact transcript this interesting letter. 



IV 

As soon as the Henriade was off his hands he 
applied himself steadily to his History of Charles XII. 
In the composition of this delightful biography, 
which he appears to have begun as early as 1727, he 
was greatly assisted by Von Fabrice. Few men then 
living knew more of the public and private life of 
the great Swede than Fabrice, and what he knew 
he liberally communicated. Much useful informa- 
tion was derived from Bolingbroke and the Dowager 



94 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

Duchess of Marlborough. But Charles XII. was 
not the only work with which he was occupied. 
He began, prompted by Bohngbroke and inspired 
by Shakespeare and Lee, the tragedy of Brutus, the 
first act of which he sketched in English prose. 
We give a short specimen of the original draft, all 
that remains, which the reader may find it inter- 
esting to compare with the corresponding passage in 
the French text as it now stands. It is the speech 
of Brutus in the second scene of the first act — 

** Brutus : Allege not ties : his (Tarquin's) crimes 
have broken them all. The gods themselves, whom 
he has offended, have declared against him. Which 
of our rights has he not trod upon ? True, we 
have sworn to be his subjects, but we have not 
sworn to be his slaves. You say you've seen our 
Senate, in humble suppUance, pay him their vows. 
Even he himself has sworn to be our father, and 
make the people happy in his guidance. Broken 
from his oaths, we are let loose from ours. Since 
he has transgressed our laws, his the rebelhon. 
Rome is free from guilt." ^ 

1 Goldsmith's Miscellaneous Works, iv. 20. As it appears in 
Brutus, Act I. Sc. 11, it runs — 

"N'alleguez point ces noeuds que le crime a rompus, 
Ces dieux qu'il outragea, ces droits qu'il a perdus. 
Nous avons fait, Arons, en lui rendant hommage, 
Serment d'obeissance, et non point d'esclavage ; 
Et puisqu'il vous souvient d'avoir vu dans ces lieux, 
Le S6nat a ses pieds, faisant pour lui des vceux, 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 95 

This tragedy, which he completed on his 
return to Paris, he dedicated in very flattering 
terms to BoHngbroke. Mr. Parton, in his Hst 
of Voltaire's writings, enters among them an 
edition of Brutus published in London in 1727. 
Of that edition, after a careful search, I can 
find no trace. It was certainly unknown to 
Desnoiresterres, to Beuchot, and to all the editors ; 
and — what is, I think, final — there is no mention 
of it in the exhaustive bibliography of Voltaire 
published by M. Georges Bengesco. Mr. Parton 
has, I suspect, been misled by an ambiguous 
paragraph at the end of the preface to the fourth 
edition of the Essay on Epic Poetry. Pollnitz tells 
us that a translation of it had, in the spring of 
1733. 3- better run in London than the original had 
in Paris, adding that its author "was so entirely 
captivated with the freedom of thinking among the 
English that he had in some measure forgotten he 
was a Frenchman." ^ 

At Wandsworth, or possibly in London, he 



Songez qu'en ce lieu meme, k cet autel auguste, 
Devant ces memes dieux, il jura d'etre juste. 
De son peuple et de lui tel etait le lien : 
II nous rend nos serments lorsqu'il trahit le sien ; 
Et des qu'aux lois de Rome il ose etre infidele 
Rome n'est plus sujette, et lui seul est rebelle." 

^ Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 467. 



96 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

sketched also another tragedy, a tragedy which 
was not, however, completed till 1734. This was 
La Mort de Cesar, suggested, as need hardly be 
said, by the masterpiece of Shakespeare/ Mean- 
while (end of 1728) he was engaged in the com- 
position of those charming Letters which were 
jafterwards published in English under the title of 
Letters concerning the English Nation, and in French 
under the title of Lettres Philosophiques. They 
were addressed to his friend Thieriot, and under 
Thieriot's auspices (par les soins de Thieriot) were 
translated into English, Thieriot having come to 
London for this purpose. The publication of the 
English translation preceded the publication of 
the French original ; and the reason for this, as 
we gather from a letter written to Thieriot in 
July 1733, was twofold. Voltaire well knew the 
storm which their appearance was certain to raise 
in France. He wished Thieriot, therefore, in the 
preface to his translation, to lay stress on the fact 
that they were not written for the public, but 
were privately addressed to Thieriot himself. 
The reception they received in an English dress 
would be some indication as to how they would 
fare in a French dress on the Continent, and the 
fact that they were current in English would be 

^ See CEuvres Completes (edit. 1877), vol. ii., note. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 97 

some justification for them appearing in French. 
Of the immense importance of these letters histori- 
cally there can be no question. '* Les Lettres 
Anglaises," says Lanfrey, " sontj non seulement 
le livre du si^cle oti il y a le plus de verites nou- 
velles, mais ces verites y sont armees en guerre 
et sonnent comme les filches inevitables du dieu 
a Tare d' argent." ^ Before their appearance 
France had been strangely indifferent to the 
intellectual activity and achievement of England, 
knowing little or nothing about our literature, 
our philosophy, or our science. They initiated 
a new era. " Cet ouvrage," observes Condorcet, 
" fut parmi nous I'epoque d'une revolution ; 11 
commenga a y faire naitre le gout de la philosophic 
et de la litterature anglaise ; a nous interesser 
aux moeurs, a la j5blitique, aux connaissances 
commerciales de ce peuple ; a repandre sa langue 
parmis nous." ^ The first French editions appeared 
in 1734, but two editions had appeared in English 
during the preceding year, one printed in London, 
and the other in Dublin. 

But the indefatigable energy of Voltaire did not 
exhaust itself in study and composition. It appears 

^ EEglise et les Philosophes au Dix-huitieme Sihle, p. 114, and 
cf. his remarks on p. 113. 

2 Vie de Voltaire ; CEuvres Completes, vol. i. p. 208. 
7 



\ 



98 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

from. Duvernet, that he attempted to open a perma- 
nent French theatre in London, and with this object 
he induced a company of Parisian actors to come 
over; but the project met with so httle encourage- 
ment that he was forced to abandon it, and the 
company went back almost immediately to Paris/ 

In the midst of these multifarious pursuits he 
had found time to peruse almost everything of 
note both in our poetry and in our prose. He 
began with Shakespeare, whose principal dramas 
he studied with minute attention, analysing the 
structure, the characterisation, the diction. His 
criticisms on Shakespeare are, it is true, seldom 
cited except to be laughed at, but the defects of 
these criticisms originated neither from ignorance 
nor from inattention. His real opinion of Shake- 
speare is not to be gathered from the Theatres 
Anglais and from the Lettre ^ V Academie, but 
from the Lettres Philosophiques and from the 
admirable letter to Horace Walpole.^ The in- 
fluence of Shakespeare on Voltaire's own tragedies 
is very perceptible, and the extent of that influence 
will be at once apparent if we compare the plays 
produced before his visit to England with the 
plays produced on his return to France ; if we 

^ Duvernet, p. 72. 

2 Dated Ferney, July 1768. Correspondance Generale, vol. xiv. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 99 

compare (Edipe, Artemise, and Marianne with 
Brutus, Eriphyle, and Zaire. Brutus and La Mort 
de Cesar flowed not more certainly from Julius 
Ccesar than Zaire from Othello; reminiscences of 
Hamlet are unmistakable both in Eriphyle and 
in Semiramis ; v/hile, as Professor Lounsbury has 
pointed out, Macbeth is closely recalled in the two 
most powerful scenes in Mahomet. The first three 
acts of Julius CcBsar he subsequently translated 
into French, and he has in the Lettres Philoso- 
phiques given a characteristic but not very satis- 
factory version of the famous soliloquy in Hamlet.'^ 
Of Chaucer, of Spenser, and of our Elizabethan 
writers generally it is not surprising that he was as 
ignorant as most English writers in those times were. 
Milton he studied, as his Essay on Epic Poetry 
and his article on the Epopee ^ prove, with great 
diligence. He had, in addition to Paradise Lost, 
read Paradise Regained a ' ^amson Agonistes, 
neither of which he thought of much value. He 
was well acquainted with the poems, the dramas, 
and the essays of Dryden, of whom he speaks in the 
Sitcle de Louis XIV. with unbounded enthusiasm : 
"On distingue le celebre Dryden, qui s'est signale 

^ For the relation of Voltaire to Shakespeare, see the interesting 
Study of Professor Lounsbury, Shakespeare and Voltaire. 
2 Didionnaire Philosophique, article " Epopee." 



100 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

dans tous les genres de poesie ; ses ouvrages sent 
pleins de details naturels, a la fois brillants, 
animes, vigoureux, hardis, passionees, merite qu'- 
aucun poete de sa nation n'egale, et qu'aucun 
ancien n'a surpasse,"^ pronouncing his genius, how- 
ever, to be too exuberant and not accompanied 
with sufficient judgment;^ with the writings of 
Dry den's contemporaries he was equally conversant. 
Of Garth's^ Dispensary he had a high opinion, and 
he places it above the Lutrin. Even such inferior 
poets as Oldham, Roscommon, Dorset, Sheffield, 
Halifax, and Rochester had not escaped his curious 
eye. Rochester, indeed, he pronounced to be a poet 
of great genius ; he puts his satires on a level with 
those of Boileau, and in one of the Philosophical 
Letters (the twenty-first) he turns a portion of the 
satire on Man into French heroics. With the poems 
of Denham he was greatly pleased ; and of Waller, 
a portion of whose Elegy on the Death of Cromwell 
he has also translated into French verse, he speaks 
in terms of enthusiastic admiration, ranking him 
above Voiture, and observing that " his serious 
compositions exhibit a strength and vigour which 
could not have been expected from the softness 

1 Sihle de Louis XIV., chap, xxxiv. 

2 Letter XVIII. of the Lettres Philosophiques. 

3 Ibid., article "Burlesque." 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND loi 

and fluency of his other pieces." He read Otway, 
whom singularly enough he underrated, and of 
whose " Orphan " he has, in his Appel k toutes les 
Nations, given a sarcastic analysis. He was 
acquainted with Lee's tragedies, and he enjoyed 
the comedies of Wycherley, Vanburgh, and Con- 
greve, on which he has left many just and inter- 
esting observations. Indeed, he did Vanburgh the 
honour to steal from him many of the incidents, 
most of the characters, and the whole of the under- 
plot of the Relapse. It is singular that the French 
editors, who are careful to point out that Le Conite 
de Bottrsouffle ; Comedie Bouffe is merely a recast of 
UEchange ; Comedie en trois ades, should have 
omitted to notice that both of them are simply 
Vanburgh' s play in a French dress. 

But nothing illustrates his mastery over our 
language and his power of entering into the spirit 
of our literature, even when that literature is most 
esoteric, so strikingly as his remarks on Hudihras. 
" I never found," he says, " so much wit in any 
single book as that. It is Don Quixote and the 
Satire Menippee blended together." Of the opening 
lines he has, in the twenty-second of Lettres Philo- 
sophiques, given a French version, reproducing 
with extraordinary felicity both the metre and 
the spirit. With not less pleasure he perused the 



102 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

poems of Prior. In the Philosophical Dictionary he 
devotes an article to him, and in another article 
he pauses to draw attention to the merits of Alma. 
With Parnell's Hermit he was so pleased that he 
has borrowed it, and, turning it into prose, has 
inserted it in Zadig. With the essays and poems 
of Addison, whom he pronounces to be the best 
critic as well as the best writer of his age, he was 
well acquainted.^ His style, he says, is a model : 
"Sa mani^re d'ecrire est un excellent modele en 
tout pays." His Allegories he has imitated;^ his 
Campaign he took as the model for Fontenoy ; from 
his criticism on Milton he has borrow^ed ; and his 
Cato he placed at the head of English tragedies, 
" la seule tragedie anglaise ecrite avec une elegance 
et une noblesse continue." Indeed, he has gone so 
far as to say that the principal character in that 
drama is the " greatest that was ever brought 
upon any stage." ^ His observations upon the 
defects of the play are less open to question, 
and prove that if he had the bad taste to prefer 
Addison to Shakespeare, he was sufficiently ac- 
quainted with the history of our drama to be able 

1 For his remarks on Cato, see Didionnaire Philosophique, article 
"Addison," where he gives a French version of Cato's soliloquy. 

2 See particularly the Vision in section ii. of the article on 
" Religion " in the Philosophical Dictionary. 

2 Siecle de Louis XIV., chap, xxxiv. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 103 

to point out in what way the appearance of Cato 
marked an era in its development. To the genius 
of Swift he paid enthusiastic homage. He owed, 

I- he said, to Swift's writings the love he bore to 
the English language. He considered him im- 
' measurably superior to Rabelais : " Monsieur Swift 
est Rabelais dans son bon sens, et vivant en bonne 
compagnie. II n'a pas a laverite la gaiete du premier, 
mais il a toute la finesse, la raison, le choix, le bon 
gout qui manquent a notre cure de Meudon";^ 
and he was so delighted with Gulliver's Travels 
that he encouraged his friend Thieriot to undertake 
a translation of them into French, judiciously 
advising him, however, to confine his efforts to the 
first part. His own Micr omegas is largely indebted 
to Gulliver, just as his Relation de la Maladie 
du Jesuite Berthier was plainly suggested by Swift's 
account of Partridge's death. Nor did his nice and 
discriminating appreciation end here. Voltaire was 
the first critic who drew attention to the peculiar 
merits of Swift's verses.^ So Anglicised had Vol- 
taire become in his tastes, that he actually preferred 
Bishop Burnet's Memoirs tothose of his own country- 
men. *' Peut-etre," he observes, " ont-ils surpasse 

^ Lettres Fhtlosophiques, xxii. 

2 Ibid., xxii. • see, too, Lettres a S. A. M. Le Prince, Melanges, 
V. 489. 



104 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

leurs maitres ; leurs sermons sont moins compasses, 
moins affectes, moins declamateurs qu'en France." ^ 
With the poems and tragedies of Thomson he 
was, as a very interesting letter to George, Lord 
Lyttelton, shows,^ thoroughly conversant. " I was 
acquainted/' so runs the letter, which is written 
in English, and is dated Paris, May 17, 1750 (N.S.), 
" with Mr. Thomson when I stayed in England. 
I discovered in him a great genius and a great 
simplicity. I liked in him the poet and the true 
philosopher, I mean the lover of mankind. I think 
that without a good stock of such a philosophy 
a poet is just above a fiddler who amuses our ears 
and cannot go to our soul. I am not surprised your 
nation has done more justice to Mr. Thomson's 
Seasons than to his dramatic performances." As 
. this letter is an interesting specimen of Voltaire's 
composition nearly twenty years after he had left 
us, it may be well to cite more from it ; he is ac- 
counting for the comparative indifference with which 
the English public regarded Thomson's tragedies. 

"Thereis onekind of poetry of which the judicious 
readers and the men of taste are the proper judges. 

^ Sieck de Louis XIV., chap, xxxiv. 

2 This letter is among the archives at Hagley, and I am 
indebted for a copy of it to the kindness of the late Lord 
Lyttelton. I have since discovered, what Lord Lyttelton did not 
know, that it was printed in Phillimore's Life of Lyttelton. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 105 

There is another kind, that depends on the vulgar 
great or small ; tragedy and comedy are of these 
last species ; they must be suited to the turn of 
mind and proportioned to their taste. Your nation 
two hundred years since is used to a wild scene, 
to a crowd of tumultuous events, to an emphatical 
poetry mixed with low and comical expressions, 
to a lively representation of bloody deeds, to a 
kind of horror which seems often barbarous and 
childish, all faults which never sullied the Greek, 
the Roman, and the French stage. And give me 
leave to say that the taste of your politest country- 
men differs not much in point of tragedy from the 
taste of the mob at bear gardens. 'Tis true we 
have too much of action, and the perfection of this 
art should consist in a due mixture of the French 
taste and the English energy. . . . Mr. Thomson's 
tragedies seem to me wisely intricated and elegantly 
writ. They want perhaps some fire, and it may be 
that his heroes are neither moving nor busy enough, 
but, taking him all in all, methinks he has the 
highest claims to the greatest esteem." 

The poetry of Pope he read and re-read with an '. 
admiration which occasionally expresses itself in 
hyperbole. The Essay on Criticism he preferred 
both to the masterpiece of Horace and to the Art 
Poetiqiie of Boileau ; the Rape of the Lock he con- 
sidered the best mock heroic poem in existence ; 
and the Essay on Man, which appeared about 
five years after he had returned to France, he 



K 



io6 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

describes as " the most beautiful didactic poem — 
the most useful — the most sublime — that has ever 
been written in any language." ^ 

It would be interesting to trace the influence 
of Pope's poetry upon Voltaire's. This is not the 
place for such an inquiry, but it may be remarked 
that the Temple du Goilt was undoubtedly suggested 
by the Dunciad, that Le Desastre de Lisbonne 
and the Discours en vers sur VHomme bear the 
impress of the Essay on Man, and that La Lot 
Naturelle was certainly modelled on it. 

It is easy to see that what attracted him in our 

poetry was not its sublimity and highest flights, 

not what he could find in Spenser or Shakespeare 

or Milton in their most inspired moments, but what 

) he found in them when they were on the levels of 

I life, and what he found in the writings of Dryden 

and his school, and this led him to a generalisation 

on the characteristics of our poetry as piercingly 

discriminating as it was profoundly and admirably 

true : " Nulle nation n'a traite la morale en vers 

I avec plus d'energie et de profondeur que la nation 

I anglaise"; adding characteristically: " C'est la, il 

' me semble, le plus grand merite de ses poetes." ^ 

^ See too " Parallble d'Horace, de Boileau, et de Pope," where 
he says of the Essay, "Jamais vers ne form^rent tant de grandes 
id^es en si peu de paroles." — Melanges, iii. 224. See, too, Lettres 
Philosophiques, xxii. 

2 Sikle de Louis XIV., chap, xxxiv. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 107 

At the beginning of 1729 he prepared to quit 
England. For this to his friends he humorousty 
assigned two reasons. He was disgusted, he said, 
** with a foohsh people who believe in God and 
trust in ministers ; and as he wished to believe 
the Gospel he was resolved to go to Constantinople, 
for belief in that Gospel was impossible when living 
among the teachers of Christianity.^ There was 
now, indeed, nothing to detain him. He had 
published the Henriade ; he had completed his 
collections for the Leftres Philosophiques ; he had 
collected materials for the Sidcle de Louis XIV., 
and for the History of Charles XII. ; he had made 
what friends he cared to make ; he had seen all 
he wished to see ; and, what was of equal import- 
ance to him, he had made money. But it would 
be doing him great injustice to suppose that the 
only ties which bound him to England were ties 
of self-interest. He had become sincerely attached 
to the country and to the people. He always con- 
tended that the temper and character essentially 
typical of the English and French were mutually 
corrective. "Utraque poscit opem res et conjurat 
amice." I believe that an Englishman who is well 
acquainted with France, and a Frenchman who is 
well acquainted with England, are both of them 
1 See Peterborough's letter to Dr. Towne printed in the Appendix. 



'/ \/ 



io8 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

much the better for it.^ " Had I not been obUged," 
he said in a letter to Thieriot, to look after my 
affairs in France, depend upon it I would have 
spent the rest of my days in London." And again, 
many years afterwards, he wrote in a letter to his 
friend Keate : *' Had I not fixed the seat of my 
retreat in the free corner of Geneva, I would 
certainly live in the free corner of England. I 
have been for thirty years the disciple of your 
ways of thinking." ^ The kindness and hospitality 
which he received he never forgot, and he took 
every opportunity of repaying it. To be an English- 
man was always a certain passport to his courteous 
consideration. When in 1776 Martin Sherlock 
visited him at Ferney, he found the old man, then 
in his eighty-third year, still full of his visit to 
England. He had had the garden laid out in the 
English fashion ; the books with which he was 
surrounded were the English classics ; the subject 
to which he persistently directed the conversation 
was the English nation.^ 

His departure from England is said to have 
been hastened by a quarrel with his bookseller, 

^ Letter to the Abbe Le Blanc, 14th November 1738. CEuvres 
Completes, xxxv. p. 41. 

2 Voltaire to Keate, i6th January 1760; Brit. Mus. Addt. MSS., 
30,991. 

^ Letters fro7n an English Traveller (Letter XXIV.). 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 109 

Prevost ; and a story was afterwards circulated 
by Desfontaines that, previous to his departure, he 
was severely cudgelled by an infuriated member 
of the trade — for what reason, and under what 
circumstances, is not recorded/ However this 
may be, it seems clear that he had either done 
or said something which had made him enemies ; 
there was certainly an impression in the minds of 
some that he quitted England under a cloud. In 
a notice of the History of Charles XII., in the 
Gentleman's Magazine for May 1732, the writer 
asserts that " Mr. Voltaire enriched himself with 
our contributions, and behaved so ill that he was 
refused admittance into those noblemen's and 
gentlemen's families in which he had been received 
with great favour and distinction. He left England 
full of resentment, and wrote the King of Sweden's 
Life to abuse this nation and the Hanoverian 
family." The latter statement is, as we need 
scarcely say, quite untrue ; the former statement 
is as plainly a gross exaggeration. A very dis- 
graceful story connected with his departure from 
England appeared some years later in the columns 
of the same periodical.^ It is there stated that 

^ See La Voltairomaniey p. 37 ; and cf. Desnoiresterres, La 
Jeunesse de Voltaire, p. 397. 

^ See a letter to the Editor of the Gentlefuafi's Magazine, vol. 



no VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

Peterborough, wishing to have a certain work 
written, had commissioned Voltaire, then his guest, 
to do it, and had suppUed him from time to time 
with the money necessary to defray the expenses 
of pubhcation. But these sums, instead of paying 
them over to the pubhsher, who had, on the 
strength of the first instalment, put a portion of 
the work into type, Voltaire appropriated to his 
own use. He then proceeded to play a double 
game. He told the publisher, who for want of 
funds had stopped the press, that Peterborough 
would advance nothing further till the book was 
out. To Peterborough, on the other hand, he 
accounted for the delay in publication by attribut- 
ing it to the dilatoriness of the publisher. At last 
the publisher, justly considering that he had been 
treated very hardly, determined to apply to Peter- 
borough himself. With this object he had an 
interview with him at Parson's Green. All was 
explained. The Earl, so far from being guilty of 
the injustice and meanness attributed to him by 
Voltaire, had regularly advanced the money 
required, as Voltaire had regularly retained it. 
Peterborough's rage knew no bounds. He drew 
his sword and rushed at his treacherous guest, 

Ixvii. part ii. p. 820, seqq., signed E. L. B., in the number for 
"^ctober 1797. 



\ 



\ 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND iii 

who happened to come up in the course of the 
interview, and it was only by a precipitate flight 
that Voltaire escaped mortal injury. That night 
he concealed himself in a neighbouring village. 
Next day he returned to London, and almost 
immediately afterwards he left England for the 
Continent. 

This story no one would wish to believe, and there 
is happily strong reason for doubting its truth. In 
the first place, it did not appear till nearly seventy 
years after the supposed event. It is related by 
an anonymous writer, on anonymous authority, 
and it appears in a letter obviously animated with 
the most violent hostility to Voltaire. Nor is 
there, so far as I know, any allusion to it elsewhere. 
What makes it still more improbable is that, in an 
interesting letter written by Lord Peterborough to 
Dr. Towne, then in Barbadoes, which has reference 
to Voltaire's movements at this time, there is no 
mention of any such fracas or any such conduct 
on the part of Voltaire, but it is at the same time 
clear that Voltaire's flighty and uncertain temper 
had somewhat perplexed his friends. The letter 
is dated November, and was no doubt written in 
the November succeeding Voltaire's departure for 
France. "It is," says Peterborough, *'as hard to 
account for our politics as for Mr. Voltaire's re- 



112 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

solution and conduct. The country and people of 
England are in disgrace at present, and [he] has 
taken his leave of us as of a foolish people who 
believe in God and trust in ministers, and he is 
gone to Constantinople in order to believe in the 
Gospels, which he says it is impossible to doe, 
living among the teachers of Christianity." ^ 

Before setting out he went down to Twicken- 
ham to have a final interview with Pope. " I 
am come," he said, " to bid farewell to a man 
who never treated me seriously from the first hour 
of my acquaintance with him to the present 
moment." To this. Pope — who as soon as Voltaire's 
back was turned acknowledged the justice of the 
remark — probably replied with evasive politeness, 
or with an emphatic assurance to the contrary; 
for it is certain that in none of Voltaire's subse- 
quent writings are there any indications either of 
unfriendliness or ill-will towards him. On the 
contrary, his correspondence with Thieriot in 1733 
has more than one affectionate reference to '' Sir 
Homer Pope," as he speaks of him in one place, 
and to " glutton Pope," as he humorously describes 
him in another. What is certain is that, had he 

^ For this interesting letter, hitherto unpublished, which is 
printed in the Appendix, J am also indebted to the kindness of 
Mr. Henry Rutherford. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 113 

quitted Pope under the impression that he had 
been ill-treated by him, his vengeance would have 
been sure, prompt, and signal.^ 

The exact date of Voltaire's departure from 
England I have not been able to discover. We 
may, however, conjecture with some certainty that 
it took place during the second or third week in -^ 
March 1729 (N.S.). In a letter to Thieriot, dated 
— but without the month — 1729, he says that he 
hopes to be in Paris about the 15th of March. 
In another letter to Thieriot, dated the loth of 
March 1729, he writes : "In all likelihood I shall 
stay at Saint-Germain, and there I intend to arrive 
before the 15th." On the 25th of March he was 
certainly in France, and probably at Saint-Ger- 
main, as he writes to Thieriot on that date : " If 
you can forget a few days your golden palace, 
your feasts, . . . come hither, you will find a 
homely frugal fare, a hard bed, a poor room, 
but here is a friend who expects you." We may 
perhaps deduce from the somewhat mysterious 
paragraph at the end of this letter, a paragraph 
apparently having reference to one M. Noce, really, 
I suspect, referring to Voltaire himself — C'est chez, 

^ The authority for all this is Owen Ruffhead {Life of Pope, p. 
165), who almost certainly had the anecdote, which was communi- 
cated by Pope himself, from Warburton. 
8 



114 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

Chatillon, perruquier a Saint-Germain/ rue des 
Recollets, . . . il faut demander Sansons : il habite 
un trou de cette baraque, et il y en a un autre 
pour vous, — that he was Hving at this address 
under the assumed name of Sansons. 

It is probable, then, that he left England between 
the loth and the 23rd of March 1729 (N.S.). The 
time, therefore, spent by Voltaire in England was, 
deducting a month for his short visit to France in 
^ithe summer of 1726, about two years and eight 
months, and not, as Carlyle and others erroneously 
i assert, two years. 



So ended one of the most important episodes 
in the literary history of the eighteenth century, 
the effects of which extended far beyond the 
limits of its relation to letters. It would not, 
indeed, be too much to say that what the Italian 
wars were to the Europe of the Renaissance, the 
intercourse between England and France initiated 
by this visit of Voltaire was to the world of the 
Revolution. Henceforth the barriers hitherto ex- 

1 In his Correspondence (vol. i. of the last edition of the 
(Euvres Complies) there is a letter to Thieriot, dated from Saint- 
Germain-en-Laye, 2nd March 1729, a date which, as the letter of 
loth March proves, is certainly erroneous. 



VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 115 

isting between the i ntellectual activi ty of England 
and France were removed, and a highroad was 
opened along which streamed the forces which 
transformed the France of the old regime into the 
France of the nineteenth century. < In less than 
seventy years afterwards that regime was in ashes, 
and not a torch fired the pyre which had not been 
lighted in England. To the receptive and plastic 
genius of Voltaire, which at once absorbed and 
assimilated all that had been achieved here in 
politics, in philosophy, in letters, and in scienc^, 
and which henceforth took the ply from its new 
masters and its new teachers, must be assigned the 
first place among these agencies. It was he who 
interpreted to Europe what had placed England 
in the van of progr essive humanit y, — her noble 
constitution, her enlightened philanthropy, and, 
above all, her realisation of what in other countries 
was little more than the dream of enthusiasts, — the 
equality of every citizen in the eyes of the la w, 
and the right of every citizen to think what he 
pleased and to speak what he thought. Among 
the inestimable blessings secured by the Revolu- 
tion of 1688 were, in addition to those Acts which 
transformed a despotic into a limited monarchy,!^ 
the Toleration _Act, which, however guarded and 
grudging in what it actually conceded, was yet an 



ii6 VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND 

emphatic expression of principles everywhere at 
work, the purification of the administration of 
ij** justice and the freedom of the Press. It was just 
at the time when the effects of all this had made 
England present so striking a contrast, both politic- 
ly ally and intellectually, to France and to the other 
great States of Europe, that Voltaire visited us. 
What he saw kindled in him not merely intellectual 
admiration, but true moral enthusia sm, as we need 
go no further than the noble dedication of Zaire 
to see. It was here that he learnt to realise what, 
in spite of abuses, constitutes the real_dignity 
of man, here that he received his initiation in that 
large philanthropy, that enlightened tole rance, and 
those cosmopolitan sympathies and interests which 
*^ ever afterwards distinguished him. And when, 
many years afterwards, he wrote — 

"Le soleil des Anglais, c'est le feu du g^nie, 
C'est I'amour de la gloire et de rhumanitd, 
Celui de la patrie et de la liberte," 

he did but express with a sincerity and fervour 
which time never impaired, both his passionate 
admiration for a country much dearer to him than 
his own, and the grounds and reasons for that 
generous preference. \y 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 



The year which witnessed the departure of Voltaire 
from our shores witnessed the advent of another 
of his illustrious countrymen. Voltaire's memor- 
able visit came to a close in the spring of 1729 ; 
in the following autumn arrived Montesquieu. The 
abundant material which throws light on Voltaire's 
movements and experiences while he was among 
us is unfortunately not available in the case of 
Montesquieu. By a singular fatality, or rather 
series of fatalities, almost all those documents 
which would have enabled us to trace his career 
during this interesting part of his life have been 
destroyed or mislaid. We know from Maty ^ that 
he regularly corresponded with Chesterfield — who 
was his host during a portion at least of his visit — 
and Chesterfield with him ; but of the letters which 
passed between them not one has been preserved. 

1 " Memoirs of Chesterfield," sect. ii. in Chesterfield's Miscell- 
aneous Works, vol. i. p. 42. 

117 



ii8 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

I am enabled by the courtesy of the late Sir Robert 
Herbert to state that, though there are many 
memoranda among the Chesterfield papers bearing 
on the period of Montesquieu's visit, a careful 
search, most kindly made at my request, has re- 
vealed nothing which has any reference to him. 

It is all but certain that he recorded as fully 
and carefully his impressions of England and of 
the English as he did of the other countries which 
he visited in the course of his travels ; but such 
records are represented only by the Notes sur 
r Angleterre, first published in 1818, which are so 
meagre and trivial that they have all the appear- 
ance of being garbled and mutilated/ To the 
history of his manuscripts I shall presently recur, 
but I may here remark in passing, that if I have 
been correctly informed, his grandson, Charles 
Louis, who settled, became naturalised, married, 
and passed some thirty-four years of his life in 
England, dying at his seat. Bridge Hill House, near 
Canterbury, in 1824,^ deliberately destroyed the 

^ They are printed in Montesquieu's works (edit. Laboulaye), vol. 
vii. pp. 183-196. 

2 It is curious that there should be no monument and no record 
of the Baron de Montesquieu in Bridge Church, and yet we know 
from the Times, 31st July 1824, and from the Church Register, that 
he was buried there. " On Tuesday the remains of the Baron de 
Montesquieu, of Bridge Hill House, were deposited in Bridge 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 119 

missing commentaries. He was grateful to England 
for the asylum which she had afforded him during 
his exile, and had become much attached to his 
adopted country. Such notes as have been pre- 
served sufficiently indicate the probable tendency 
of the fuller commentaries, for nothing could be 
more offensively anti-English than these jottings. 
And that Montesquieu's grandson, from considera- 
tions of courtesy and gratitude, should have wished 
a more elaborate expression of such sentiments to 
be suppressed is not surprising. Enough, however, 
may be gathered from various sources to sketch, at 
least in outline, this important episode in the history 
of the literary relations between England and France. 
I am sorry to begin, as I am obliged to begin, 
by finding fault with the only attempt which has, 
as yet, been made to throw light on this passage 
in Montesquieu's biography. The chapter in M. 
Vian's Histoire de Montesquieu dealing with the 
visit to England is the most unsatisfactory part 
of his work ; it is jejune and superficial, and is, 
moreover, full of errors and misrepresentations, 
and that not in trifles but in matters of capital 

Church. The Baron was an hereditary Marshal of France, and 
descendant of the illustrious Montesquieu. Napoleon restored his 
paternal estates, which had been confiscated during the French 
Revolution, from a regard to the memory of his ancestor." 



120 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

importance. A few of these may be specified. 
Montesquieu did not travel with Chesterfield in 
Italy, as M. Vian states ; he did not even meet 
him there, for Chesterfield was then in residence 
as Ambassador at The Hague. Nor is there any 
evidence that he met Chesterfield at the Club de 
r Entresol in Paris. ^ He met him, as he himself 
tells us, for the first time at The Hague, with a 
letter of introduction from Lord Waldegrave.^ 
There is no evidence that he stayed with 
Chesterfield during the whole of his visit to Eng- 
land ; and indeed this is impossible, for Chester- 
field was then only occasionally in England. There 
is no evidence that Montesquieu left England in 
April 173 1 ; and to support this, as well as the 
assertion that he resided with Chesterfield, M. Vian 
has recourse to an expedient which cannot be 
sufficiently reprehended. He quotes a letter of 
Fontenelle's, which he describes as dated 1731, 
and as being addressed to Lord Chesterfield's 
house ; we turn to the letter, and find that it has 
no date and no address.^ In M. Vian's account of 
Montesquieu's introduction to the Queen, and of 

^ Vian, p. 115, and this is reasserted by M. Zdvort. See his 
Montesquieu, pp. 130, 131. 

2 Voyages, ii. 235. 

2 See (Euvres de Fontenelle (Paris, 1818), vol. ii. p. 566. The letter 
does not appear at all in the edition cited by M. Vian, Paris, 1758. 




MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 121 

his conversation with her at Kensington in 1730, 
we are actually informed that the Queen was 
Queen Charlotte ! Nor does M. Vian add anything 
to our knowledge of this episode in Montesquieu's 
life beyond what may be gathered from perfectly 
obvious sources. 

It is scarcely necessary to say that Charles I 
Louis de Secondat, Baron de la Brede, afterwards 
Baron de Montesquieu, sprang from a family long 
distinguished by its soldiers and its lawyers, and 
was born at La Brede, about three leagues from 
Bordeaux, on i8th January 1689 : his father being 
Jacques de Secondat, second son of the Baron de 
Montesquieu ; his mother, Fran9oise de Penel, who 
brought her husband the castle and estates of La 
Brede. He received his early education at the 
hands of the Oratorians at Juilly, and at Juilly 
he remained from his twelfth to his twenty-second 
year. He then went through a course of legal 
study, and was entered as Counsellor in the Parlia- 
ment of Bordeaux in 1714. In the following year 
he married Mademoiselle Jeanne de Lartigue, and 
about two years afterwards became President k 
mortier ; his uncle, the head of the family, who held 
this office, having bequeathed it to him, together 
with all his property, on condition that he would 
take the title of Montesquieu. The condition and 



122 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

the responsibilities were accepted by him, but his 
heart was neither in his work nor in his home. 
His wife was plain and homely ; his official duties 
were dry and most distasteful to him ; but he 
neglected neither. If in private life, as a husband 
and father, and in public life, as a magistrate and 
citizen, he reduced his responsibilities to a mini- 
mum, he decorously and punctually discharged 
them. The rest of his time he gave to congenial 
friends wherever he could find them — and he 
sought them assiduously among the choice spirits 
of his age, — to his studies, to his liaisons, and to 
ambition. In his temperament there was a singular 
mixture of the philosopher and of the libertine, of 
austerity and of voluptuousness. In the Lettres 
Persanes we find these characteristics blended ; 
in the Temple de Guide, and in the Considerations 
sur la Grandeur et Decadence des Romains, in 
remarkable and curious contrast ; in the Esprit des 
Lois occasionally discernible. 

Montesquieu's attention was at first directed to 
anatomy^ botany, and natural history. But he was 
of Gascon descent, and the Gascon strain in him 
soon led to less positive studies ; and he fell under 
the fascination of Montaigne, with whom con- 
stitutionally he had so much in common. Indeed, 
in the admirable portrait which he has given of 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 123 

himself in his Pensees Diverses he might be de- 
scribing his master. 

" L'etude/' writes this happy man, " a ete pour 
moi le souverain remede contre les degouts de la 
vie, n'ayant jamais eu de chagrin qu'une heure de 
lecture n'ait dissipe. . . . Je suis presque aussi 
content avec des sots qu'avec des gens d' esprit ; 
car il y a peu d'hommes si ennuyeux qui ne m'aient 
amuse. . . . J'ai eu naturellement de 1' amour pour 
le bien et I'honneur de ma patrie, et peu pour ce 
qu'on appelle la gloire. Quand j'ai voyage dans 
les pays etrangers, je m'y suis attache comme 
au mien propre, j'ai pris part a leur fortune 
et j'aurois souhaite qu'ils fussent dans un etat 
florissant." ^ 

'^ His thirst for knowledge, for all that could be 
gathered from books, from observation and experi- 
ence, grew insatiable. He revelled in the Latin 
classics ; he devoured history and political philo- 
sophy ; he explored the ancient philosophies, being 
particularly attracted by Stoicism ; and, as the fruit 
of these studies, he produced for the Academy at 
Bordeaux two essays, entitled respectively La 
Politique des Remains dans la Religion and Le 
Systeme des I dees. Fiction and belles-lettres were 
the recreation of his lighter moments ; Telemaque 

1 (Euvres (edit. Laboulaye), vol. vii. p. 151. 



124 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

he pronounced to be a divine work ; and in The 
Thousand-and-one-Nights , he tells us, he absol- 
utely revelled. But what chiefly interested him and 
soon formed the centre of his studies was man, 
/ not regarded psychologically so much as in relation 
,' to politics and society. Of manners, of character, 
of all in which human nature reveals itself, he was 
an acute and unwearied observer. With him, 
though he had as much delight within the walls of 
a library as Goethe's Wagner, the world of books 
was but the vestibule to the world of active life ; 
in no writer were the instincts of the scholar and 
recluse more happily tempered with the instincts of 
the philosopher, the philanthropist, and the critic 
of society and manners. 

All this found expression, before he had com- 
pleted his thirty-third year, in a work which has 
long lost its vogue, but which will find delighted 
readers as long as the French language exists. 
The scheme of the Lettres Persanes was suggested 
partly by Dufresny and partly by Chardin's Persian 
travels ; but what constitutes the vitality, the 
power, the charm of these brilliant sketches and 
studies belongs solely to Montesquieu. There can 
be little doubt that the twin brothers Usbec and 
Rica were, as M. Sorel has observed, drawn from 
Montesquieu himself ; the one is Montesquieu the 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 125 

philosopher, the other is Montesquieu the painter 
of manners and satirist. The work is a masterly 
picture, and an equally masterly analysis of the 
world of which Saint-Simon was the historian and 
Dubois the type ; of a world of libertines and 
harlots, of fribbles and sycophants, without religion, 
without heart, and without hope. 

But Montesquieu is neither a Tacitus nor a 
Knox ; on his brow is no scowl, in his mouth no 
jeremiad. To the dulcia vitia of that corrupt 
time he may certainly be described as pandering. 
Nothing, in truth, could be more grossly licentious 
than many passages in these letters. His social 
sketches are admirable ; his satire, though not 
without touches as severe and poignant as anything 
in Le Sage and La Bruyere, is the perfection of 
urbane and delicate mockery. But when he scans 
society with the eye of a political philosopher he 
assumes quite a different tone ; and there are 
many passages which read like extracts from the 
Esprit des Lois, the germ of which is indeed to be 
found in them. Of all his writings these letters 
most comprehensively illustrate his genius and 
temper ; and of all his writings they were, and 
always have been, the most popular. 

The Lettres could not, of course, be published 
in France, or appear with the author's name. A 



126 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

sagacious friend, indeed, attempted to dissuade him 
from giving them to the world at all, adding, how- 
ever, that if published they would " sell like 
bread." To escape proscription, they were, like 
Pascal's Provinciates, printed at Rouen, and 
published at Amsterdam. Within a year they had 
run through four editions and four pirated reprints. 
Montesquieu has himself told us how the publishers 
went about " plucking men of letters by the 
sleeves" and saying, " Write me. Sir, some Persian 
Letters." Their authorship was soon an open 
secret ; and Montesquieu at once tasted all the 
sweets of fame. A nobleman as well as an author, 
he soon counted among his friends the great men 
and the great ladies who were the flower of Parisian 
society — the Comte de Caylus, Maurepas, the 
Chevalier d' Ay dies, Madame de Lambert, Madame 
de Tencin, Madame du Deffand. At Chantilly he 
was the guest of the Due de Bourbon, whose 
sister, Mademoiselle de Clermont, is said to have 
inspired the Temple de Guide. This work, in which, 
as in Arsace et Ismenie Montesquieu gave the reins 
to the voluptuous fancies in which, in the Persian 
Letters, he had only occasionally indulged, was 
published at Paris in 1725. It does him little 
honour even as an artist, and might, without loss, 
have gone the way of the various bonnes fortunes 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 127 

which, according to the Abbe de Voisenon, it 
brought him. 

He was now, in spite of his sarcastic picture 
of the Academy in the seventy-third Persian 
Letter, anxious for the honour to which every savant 
and man of letters with any title to distinction 
aspired. A member of that body having just died, 
Montesquieu became a candidate for the vacant 
place, and was elected. But the author of the 
Persian Letters, if he had many powerful friends, 
had many equally powerful enemies, who gained 
the ear of Louis XV. The King, thus prejudiced 
against him, refused to confirm the election, on the 
ground that Montesquieu did not reside in Paris ; 
and Montesquieu returned in pique to Bordeaux. 
Two years afterwards, having disposed of his 
Presidentship and settled in Paris, he again pre- 
sented himself. This time he had the support of 
the director, Mareschal d'Estrees, who at last suc- 
ceeded in gaining over Fleury ; and the coveted 
honour was conferred on him in January 1728. 
His discourSy which was unusually brief, dis- 
appointed everyone. The truth was that courtesy 
and decorum compelled him to say much that 
was against his conscience ; panegyrics on Richelieu 
and Louis XIV. were strange things to come from 
the lips of the author of the thirty-seventh Persian 



128 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

Letter ; and he felt, no doubt, the humihation of 
having to pronounce them. 

He now began to prepare himself seriously for 
the composition of the Esprit des Lois, the first 
sketches of which he appears to have begun after 
his return from Paris to Bordeaux. Accordingly, 
he determined to investigate the constitutions and 
characteristics of all the chief countries in Europe, 
and to Collect by personal observation and inquiry 
the materials necessary for his work. Setting out 
from Paris with Lord Waldegrave, he first visited 
Germany and Austria. In Vienna he was received 
by Prince Eugene, and seriously thought of aban- 
doning his literary pursuits and adopting diplomacy 
as a profession. That, however, was not to be. 
He next visited Hungary, and from Hungary he 
passed to Italy. ; In the spring] of 1729 he left 
Italy, and spent the greater part of that year 
in Switzerland, in the Rhine country, and in 
Holland. At The Hague he made the acquaintance 
of Lord Chesterfield,^ to whom Waldegrave had 
given him a letter of introduction, and in October 
sailed with him in his yacht to England. 

Of his experiences in these countries he made 
full and elaborate notes, the most voluminous and 
valuable being the records of his journeys in Italy, 

 ^ "Voyage en HoUande"; Voyages, vol. ii. p. 235. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 129 

Germany, and Holland. These have been pre- 
served in their entirety. Of his notes on Austria 
and Hungary we have only fragments ; and that 
seems to be the case also with the notes on England. 
Till 1894, these records, with the exception of the 
jottings on England, remained in manuscript ; 
but between that year and 1896 the late Baron 
Albert de Montesquieu, with the assistance of M. 
Celeste, published them. The history of the 
Montesquieu manuscripts, of which these records 
form only a portion, is so interesting that it well 
deserves a digression. 

When Montesquieu died in 1755, his son, Jean 
Baptiste, inherited his manuscripts. A year or two 
afterwards an elaborate edition of Montesquieu's 
works was prepared by Richer for the press, and Jean 
Baptiste was asked to allow the unpublished papers 
to be included in it. But he was by no means 
sure that their publication would be judicious, so 
he consulted a friend, one Latapie, in whose judg- 
ment he had great confidence. Latapie was opposed 
to their publication, very sensibly observing, and 
gladly do I transcribe his words — 

" tout ce qui interesse des amis n'interesse pas 
egalement le public, toujours tres severe sur ce 
qu'on lui presente d'un homme celebre, parce 
9 



130 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

qu'il le juge d'apr^s lui-m6me, d'apres le point 
de perfection ou il a porte ses premiers ouv- 
rages " 

— an observation which, especially in these days when 
officious friends or stupid editors are so mischievously 
active, might often with advantage be remembered. 
In accordance with this advice, Jean Baptiste refused 
his consent to the publication of the manuscripts ; 
and Richer' s edition, which appeared in 1758, 
appeared without them. Their suppression was 
greatly regretted by Montesquieu's many admirers ; 
and, some years later, Jean Baptiste was most ab- 
surdly taunted with having withheld them because 
he was jealous of his father's reputation, he him- 
self being a candidate for fame on the strength 
of certain unimportant contributions to natural 
history. However, in 1783 he gave to the world 
one of the unpublished papers, Arsace et Ismenie, 
and, having done so, turned the key on the rest. 

Jean Baptiste died in 1795, and the manuscripts 
passed into the hands of his son, Charles Louis, 
whose property was confiscated after the Reign of 
Terror, he himself having emigrated to England. 
In 1795 another edition of Montesquieu's works 
was in preparation, and again the publisher desired 
to include the manuscripts. Accordingly he wrote 
to one Darcet, who had in his youth been tutor 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 131 

to Jean Baptiste, and was acquainted with Latapie, 
asking him to communicate with Latapie. Latapie 
stated in reply that the manuscripts could not be 
found ; that Jean Baptiste had fled during the 
Terror, taking them with him ; and that his widow 
did not know where they were deposited. All 
that Latapie could do, he said, was to give from 
memory a list of the pieces ; and this he did very 
accurately, as afterwards appeared. Meanwhile 
it turned out that the manuscripts were in the 
possession of one Joachim Laine and his brother 
Honorat, to whom Jean Baptiste had entrusted 
them before his death in 1793. The Laines trans- 
mitted them to Charles Louis after his " radiation 
de la liste des emigres," and the restoration of his 
property in 1801. By him they were deposited 
somewhere in London, where they remained for 
some years after the Baron's death. At last, on 
an application being made for them by the Prefect 
of the Gironde in the name of the representatives 
of Montesquieu's family, the descendants of his 
daughter — for the male branch had become extinct 
— they were returned to La Brede. 

But the history of their strange vicissitudes was 
not yet ended. Laine expressed a desire to edit 
them, and many of them were sent to him for that 
purpose ; but he died without carrying out his 



132 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

intention. Then one Aime Martin, with the assist- 
ance of Honorat Laine, took up the work ; but both 
died without making any way in it, and without 
returning the papers to La Brede. On their re- 
covery it was found that some of them were missing. 
The Baron de Montesquieu now determined that 
they should never again leave La Brede, and con- 
tinued for many years to turn a deaf ear to all 
applications even to inspect them. 

At last it was determined that they should see 
the light. In 1891 two tracts were printed ; in 
the following year appeared a still more interesting 
instalment, edited by the Baron de Montesquieu 
himself. Melanges Inedits. Next appeared the 
Voyages ; and the rest of the manuscripts are now 
in course of publication. Montesquieu's fame is 
not likely to gain by anything which appears in 
these papers, and many pieces were certainly not 
worth printing. Indeed, if we except the Voyages — 
which are of interest for reasons quite unconnected 
with literary merit, of which they have very little 
— we are by no means sure that Latapie's original 
advice was not after all the best. 

II 

But to turn from Montesquieu's manuscripts to 
Montesquieu himself. It does not appear that he 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 133 

had prepared himself for his visit to England by 
acquiring the language ; but that he had studied 
English history with care is clear from the hundred- 
and-fourth Persian Letter. To English society he 
had the best of introductions, for his sponsors were 
the Earls of Waldegrave and Chesterfield. No 
man was more respected and popular in diplomatic 
and fashionable circles than Waldegrave, who was 
grandson on his mother's side of James 11. and 
Arabella Churchill, and nephew of Marshal Berwick. 
With Berwick, whose acquaintance he had made 
in 1716, when Berwick was commandant in Guienne, 
Montesquieu was on intimate terms ; and it is not 
unlikely that his intimacy with the uncle led to 
his intimacy with the nephew. Waldegrave was 
at this time Minister-Plenipotentiary at Vienna, 
but had been called to Paris as one of the repre- 
sentatives of England at the Congress of Soissons. 
At Paris, Montesquieu met him, and the two men 
soon became great friends. 

Waldegrave was in a delicate and most difficult 
position, in which it is quite possible that Montes- 
quieu may indirectly have been of service to him. 
He had been instructed to watch Berwick and the 
Jacobite leaders, who, with Chauvelin, were doing all 
in their power to exasperate Fleury against England, 
and to thwart the negotiations preliminary to the 



134 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

Treaty of Seville. On Montesquieu's return from 
his travels Waldegrave presented him to George II. 
at Hanover ; and shortly afterwards he did him 
another and more useful service by introducing 
him to Chesterfield. Chesterfield had, about a 
year and a half before, been appointed Ambassador 
at the Hague, and was at this time residing there 
in that capacity. Montesquieu arrived at The 
Hague about the middle of October 1729. The 
author of the Persian Letters and the friend of 
Madame du Deffand and of the Due de Bourbon 
had no doubt little need to present the letter of 
introduction with which Waldegrave had furnished 
him. Chesterfield received him most graciously, 
and, on hearing that he was on his way to England, 
told him that he was about to leave for England 
himself, and offered him a place in his yacht. 
Montesquieu gladly accepted the offer, and the 
two friends — for cordial friends they had become 
during the voyage — arrived in London on Thursda}^ 
morning, October 23, 1729.* 

^ Universal Spectator for Saturday, 25th October 1729: 
"Thursday morning the Right Honourable the Earl of Chester- 
field arrived here from The Hague." It is strange that Montesquieu 
in his Notes sur VAngleterre should say that he left The Hague on 
the last day of October. " Je partis le dernier octobre 1729 de la 
Haye." Notes sur I'Angleterre. The newspaper is hardly likely to 
be in error. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 135 

He found himself, he writes to his friend Father 
Cerati, in a country which bore very httle resem- 
blance to any other in Europe. He was by no 
means favourably impressed by London. The 
streets, he complains, were quite frightful, so badly 
paved and so full of holes and ruts that it was 
almost impossible for a carriage to make its way 
along them ; and the carriages were as frightful 
as the streets.^ The passenger, he says, on scram- 
bling into them, found himself seated on an elevation 
as high as a theatre ; but, high as this was, over 
him towered the coachman and the luggage. In 
peril alike from what was above and from what 
was below, the unhappy traveller was indeed to be 
pitied if he had not made his will.^ The houses 
which overhung the streets he thought grim and 
ugly ; and, with a few exceptions, he saw nothing 
to admire in the architecture of the churches and 
of the pubhc buildings. But he was pleased with 
the parks and the many rura in urbe which were 
so conspicuous in the London of those times. A 
jotting in the Notes no doubt sums up his general 
impression. " It seems to me," he writes, " that 

1 Montesquieu's description is exactly corroborated by C^sar de 
Saussure. See his letter in a Foreign View of England, p. 68, and 
by PoUnitz, Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 431. 

2 Lettres Fam., (Euvres Computes (edit. Laboulaye), vol. vii. p. 
229 ; and Notes sur rAfigleterre. 



/ 



136 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

Paris is a beautiful city with some ugly things ; 
London an ugly city with some beautiful things." ^ 
The gloom of the climate oppressed him, and he 
had no difficulty, he said, in understanding why 
the English were so addicted to suicide.^ 

In the life and habits of the lower classes he 
seems to have taken no interest, but the aristocracy 
and the middle classes he studied with minute 
attention. He notices the gross sensuality every- 
where prevalent. " An ordinary Englishman," he 
says, " must have a good dinner, a woman, and 
comfort. So long as he has the means of getting 
these he is contented ; if these means fail him, 
he either commits suicide or turns thief.^ As he 
gorges himself with meat, he is very robust till he 
is about forty or forty-five ; at that age he breaks 
up." 

Corruption he found universal. " La corruption 
s'est mise dans toutes les conditions." " The sover- 
eign power here," he wrote, "is gold; honour and 
virtue are held in small esteem. The English are a 
free people, but they do not deserve their liberty ; 
they sell it, he bitterly observes, to the King, and if 

^ CEuvres, vol. vii. p. 185. 

^ For his remarks about the frequency of suicide among the 
English, see Pens'ees Diverses, CEuvres, vii. 467 ; L' Esprit des Lois, xiv., 
chaps, xii., xiii. ; Defense d' r Esprit des Lois, CEuvres, vol. vi. p. 159. 

2 Notes, CEuvres, vol. vii. p. 486. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 137 

the King returned it to them they would sell it to 
him again. Every vote is for sale ; some of the 
Scotch members being contented to receive £200 
a year as the price of their supporting the 
Government." ^ He comments with the greatest 
disgust on a story he had heard of an English 
gentleman who had given a hundred guineas on 
condition that for each one he had given he should 
receive ten whenever he appeared on the stage. 
He adds that extraordinary things are sometimes 
done in France, but they are done to spend money ; 
extraordinary things in England, but they are 
done to get money. ^ Had I been born in England, 
he says, I should never have consoled myself for 
not having made a fortune in France. I have no 
such regret. So far, he continues, from there being 
any honour and virtue here, there is not even the 
idea of them. 

" I do not judge England by such men as these, 
but I do judge her by the approbation which she 
gives them. If such men were regarded as they 
would be regarded in France, they would never 
have dared to degrade themselves in such a 



way." ^ 



^ Notes, CEuvres vol. vii. p. 190. 

2 Notes, ibid., ' 191. 

^ Pensks Di^ arses, CEuvres, vol. vii. p. 155. 



/ 



\ 



138 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

But what he dwells on most is the coldness 
and reserve of the English, and the impossibility 
of making friends with them. " It is lamentable," 
he says, ** to hear the complaints of strangers, and 
especially of the French who visit England. They 
say that they cannot make a friend ; that the 
longer they remain the less way they can make ; 
that their civilities are regarded as insults. But 
how," he asks, " can the English love strangers 
when they do not love themselves ? how can they 
ask us to dine with them when they do not dine 
with each other? 

" If it be pleaded that one comes to a country to 
be loved and honoured, the answer is that neither 
is necessary. We must do as the people of the 
country do, — live for ourselves, care for no one, love 
no one, count on no one. When I am in France 
I make friends with everyone ; in England I 
make friends with no one ; in Italy I pay compli- 
ments to everyone ; in Germany I drink with 
everyone." ^ 

" The English," he says in his Pensees Diver ses,- 
" are so occupied that they have not time to be 
polite ; but if they have little politeness they are 
never unpolite " (" vous font peu de politesses, 

^ Notes, (Euvres, vol. vii. pp. 185, 186. 

2 Pensees Diverses, (Euvres, vol. vii. p. 191. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 139 

mais jamais d'impolitesses ").^ He notices the 
originality of the EngHsh character ; they will not 
even imitate the ancients whom they admire. 
" Les Anglois sont des genies singuliers ; ils n'im- 
iteront pas m^me les anciens qu'ils admirent : 
leurs pieces ressemblent bien moins a des pro- 
ductions regulieres de la nature, qu'a ces jeux 
dans lesquels elle a suivi des hasards heureux." * 
Their performances are not so much like the regular 
products of nature as the freaks in which she has 
been guided by happy accidents. He notes also 
their freedom from prejudice. They have no bias 
in favour of war, of birth, of titles and dignities, 
of success with women, of any honours which 
ministers can bestow ; all they wish is that men 
should be men ; they value two things only, riches 

^ (EuvreSy vol. vii. p. 195. 

^ Pe?tsees Diverses, CEuvres Completes (edit. Laboulaye), vol. 
vii. p. 169. It is impossible not to be struck with the similarity 
between Montesquieu's picture of the English temper and character 
and that given by Goldsmith in The Traveller. After comment- 
ing on the mildness of the climate, Goldsmith goes on to say — 

"Extremes are only in the master's mind. 
Stern o'er each bosom Reason holds her stale 
With daring aims irregularly great. 

• ••••« 

Fierce in their native hardiness of soul, 

True to imagin'd right, above control. 

While e'en the peasant boasts these rights to scan, 

And learns to venerate himself as man." 

See also Pollnitz's striking remarks, Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 455. 



140 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

and merit. But they are full of envy, and think 
less~ot their own prosperity than of the prosperity 
of others ; and this spirit he discerns in all our 
laws relating to navigation and commerce.^ To 
the influence of the climate he attributes two other 
characteristics peculiar to the English temper — the 
depression, the tcedium vitce which so often leads 
them to self-destruction, and the impatience, not 
to be confounded with levity, which makes them 
incapable of allowing things to remain long in the 
same state. ^ 

He speaks with admiration of the quick-witted 
intelligence which he found almost universal. " It 
is impossible," he says, " to be too clever in dealing 
with the English. A man who is not as quick- 
witted as themselves can never understand them, 
and will always be deceived by them"; adding, 
that the Ministers of his time knew no more of the 
people of this country than a baby ; and he in- 
stances d'Hiberville and Kinski, d'Hiberville being 
fooled by the Jacobites and Kinski by the repre- 
sentations of the Tories. He notices how, beneath 
the seething and tossing surface of a society agitated 
by as many factions as human nature has passions, 
lay, solid and immovable, a bottom of sound 

1 See E Esprit des Lois, bk. xx. chap. vii. 

2 Ji,id,, bk. xiv. chap. xiii. i 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 141 

practical good sense. " To judge England," he 
says, ** by what appears in the newspapers, one 
would expect a revolution to-morrow ; but all that 
is signified is that the people, like the people of 
every other country, grumble at their governors, 
and are free to express what the people in other 
countries are only allowed to think." ^ But, 
though there is much malice, there is no mischief. 
" A man in England," he says, " may have as 
many enemies as he has hairs on his head, yet 
no harm befalls him." Contrasting liberty and 
equality as they exist in London with liberty and 
equality as they exist in Venice and in Holland, 
he pays London the compliment of observing that 
hers is the liberty and equality of gentlemen ; theirs 
that of libertines and the rabble.^ 

Forgetting, apparently, the money which he 
himself made out of his own vineyards, he seems 
to have had something very like contempt for the 
mercantile spirit, which extended even to the 
aristocracy ; and he conceives that the custom of 
allowing the nobility to engage in trade is one of 
those things which has most contributed to weaken 
the monarchy.^ " Had I been born in England, 
I should not," he says, " console myself for not 

^ Notes, CEtwres, vii, p. i88. ^ Notes. 

^ Ibid., bk. XX. chap. xxi. 



142 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

having made a fortune ; in France I am by no 
means uneasy at not having done so." ^ Of the 
young noblemen in England he gives anything but 
a flattering account. " They may be divided," he 
says, " into two classes. The first consists of those 
who have some pretensions to learning because 
they have been a long time at the universities, 
and that has given them bad manners and a con- 
strained and awkward air ; the others know 
absolutely nothing." ^ By Enghsh women he was 
plainly not attracted ; he found them more unre- 
sponsive and repellent than the men. They im- 
agine, he says, that a stranger who speaks to them 
wishes to insult them. " Je ne veux point, disent- 
elles, give to him encouragement.'' ^ He made no 
friends among them ; nor does he in his subsequent 
correspondence, if we remember rightly, while fre- 
quently referring to his English acquaintance, 
mention any lady. 

Of the state of religion in England he gives 
a very unfavourable account, fully corroborating 
what Bishop Butler says in the preface to the 
Analogy. " There is," he writes in his Notes,^ no 
religion in England ; in the Houses of Parliament 

^ Pens'ees Diverses, (Euvres, vii. 155. 

- Notes, (Euvres, vii. 184. 

' /bid., p. 195. ^ Ibid., p. 195. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 143 

prayers are never attended by more than four or 
five members, except on great occasions. If one 
speaks of religion, every one laughs." The very 
phrase " an article of faith " provokes ridicule. 
Referring to the committee which had recently 
been appointed to inquire into the state of religion, 
he says that it was regarded with contempt. In 
France he himself passed as having too little re- 
ligion, in England as having too much ; and yet, 
he grimly adds, " there is no nation that has more 
need of religion than the English, for those who 
are not afraid to hang themselves ought to be 
afraid of being damned." ^ To the Deistic contro- 
versy, curiously enough, he makes no reference ; 
but he observes of Whiston's work on the Miracles, 
that it was not calculated to improve the morals 
of the people. 



Ill 



In parliamentary affairs and in the politics of 
the time he was, as might be expected, profoundly 
interested. He had already in his hundred-and- 
fourth Persian Letter expressed his admiration both 
of the English theory of monarchy and of the 

1 Fensees Diverses^ QLuvres^ vol. vii. p. 167. 



-J^ 



144 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

independent temper of the English people, of a 
monarchy which, originating from the people for 
the benefit of the people, would maintain itself only 
so long as it observed the conditions under which 
it existed, of a people in whose eyes passive obedi- 
ence and non-resistance were no virtues, and who 
held that no unlimited power could be legitimate 
because its origin was illegitimate. He attended 
V the sittings of both Houses ; he took notes of the 
"*- debates ; and he made a thorough study of our 
^ ^^ constitution and government, the results of which 
were afterwards embodied in two of the most 
brilliant and masterly chapters of the Esprit des 
Lois, namely, the sixth chapter of Book VI., and 
the twenty-seventh chapter of Book XIX. 

The evils inherent in party government have, 
perhaps, never been so strikingly illustrated as in 
the history of Walpole's administration, from the 
appearance of the Craftsman, in December 1726, 
to his fall in the spring of 1742. That he con- 
trived to prevent England embroiling herself with 
continental affairs, and assisted in maintaining the 
peace of Europe at a most critical time ; that he 
saved us from the miseries and horrors of a dis- 
puted succession ; that he secured the repose whch 
his country so sorely needed after the Treaty of 
Utrecht, and thus enabled her to develop her 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 145 

trade and domestic industries ; that he passed 
many wise measm^es, and laid the foundations of 
a mercantile prosperity without precedent in our 
history — all this must in justice be conceded. But 
it was purchased at a heavy price. Never, since 
the days of the Cabal, had England sunk so low in 
all that constitutes the true life of a great people. 
The picture which Montesquieu painted is not a 
shade too dark. Walpole openly scoffed at prin- 
ciple, at virtue, at honour, at religion. Coarse 
almost to brutality in his manners, in his conversa- 
tion, in his tastes, he cared for nothing but politics ; 
and politics with him meant little more than the 
management of the House of Commons and the 
maintenance of his own supremacy. 

The important services which Walpole rendered 
to his country were the result of great abilities 
accidentally directed, in the course of a party game, 
to beneficent and legitimate objects. The only 
difference between himself and the Opposition was 
that he was in power and responsible, while they 
were out of power and irresponsible ; he had to 
act, and to stand or fall by his actions ; they had 
only to criticise, to protest, to clamour. He had 
the support of the Crown and the command of the 
public purse ; they had what they could compass 

and effect by unscrupulous intrigue, and the equally 
10 



146 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

unscrupulous use of the tongue and of the pen. He 
bribed, and they preached ; he, with the means of 
corruption, practised it ; they, without the means, 
denounced it. As he was in aUiance with the Court, 
they thundered against royal favourites and ap- 
pealed to the country. A very happy title was 
adopted by them for the double purpose of reflect- 
ing by implication on Walpole's policy, and of dis- 
guising the monstrous incongruity of such a coalition 
as they themselves represented ; they called them- 
selves Patriots, and their tactics were simple and 
uniform — vexatious opposition to every measure, 
good or bad, which Walpole brought forward, 
and the inculcation of a policy in foreign and 
domestic affairs which had no other aim than to 
thwart and discredit his. 

Montesquieu arrived in England when these 
ignoble feuds were at their height, and the Crafts- 
man had become so rancorous and unmeasured 
in its abuse that each number, before it issued from 
the press, was submitted to three lawyers to see 
that nothing in it could be brought technically 
within the law of libel.^ In March 1729 the Treaty 

^ This particular we owe to Montesquieu, Notes sur P Angle- 
terre : " Le Craftsman est fait par Bolingbroke et par M. Pulteney. 
On le fait conseiller par trois avocats avant de I'imprimer, pour 
savoir s'il y a quelque chose qui blesse la loi," CEuvres^ vii. p. 185. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 147 

of Seville had been signed, and the Patriots were 
taunting Walpole with deserting our old ally Aus- 
tria, and pandering to our old enemies France and 
Spain. The treaty had also furnished them with a 
pretext for harping once more on the grievance 
of maintaining a standing army in time of peace. 
The first debate which Montesquieu attended 
was on the 28th of January 1730. The question 
before the House was a motion, introduced by the 
Secretary of War, and seconded by Sir William 
Yonge, for keeping up the number of the land 
forces during the year. It was opposed by Shippen 
in a vigorous and eloquent speech. The accuracy 
of the notes taken by Montesquieu is corroborated 
by the report of the speech in the Parliamentary 
History ; but he gives some interesting particulars 
which are not found elsewhere. Shippen, after 
observing that the troops were not needed, " con- 
sidering the glorious scene of affairs which the 
honourable gentleman says is opened to us and 
to all Europe "—the reference is to the Treaty of 
Seville— goes on to say, '^ They are not needed to 
force the Emperor into an immediate accession, nor 
are they in any sort necessary for the safety of his 
Majesty's person and government. Force and viol- 
ence are the resort of usurpers and tyrants only." * 

^ Pari. Hist., viii. 772. 



148 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

At these words, says Montesquieu, " toute la 
chambre fut etonnee " ; but, according to the Par- 
liamentary History, the orator continued thus — 

"I perceive some gentlemen take offence at my 
words, and therefore, that they may not be mis- 
construed, I will repeat them (et lui les repeta une 
seconde fois). I assert, then, that it is a grounded 
maxim in civil science that force and violence 
are the resort of usurpers and tyrants only, because 
they are with good reason distrustful of the people 
whom they oppress, and because they have no other 
security for the continuance of their unlawful and 
unnatural dominion than what depends entirely on 
the strength of their armies." 

He concluded, according to the report in the 
Parliamentary History, with a humorous and sar- 
castic assurance that, however frugal he was 
inclined to be with regard to the expenditure of 
public money, there was one item in the Estimates 
which he did not grudge, and that was the salary of 
£200 a year for the physician of the Tower. They 
were all interested, he said, and particularly the 
Opposition, in maintaining a competent medical 
officer in that particular place, " for members of 
this House have been frequently sent thither, and 
for very different reasons, some for speaking freely, 
others for acting corruptly " — an allusion to Wal- 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 149 

pole's incarceration in 1712. Of this part of the 
speech Montesquieu says nothing, but he refers to 
a detail not reported in the History, namely, that 
the speaker repudiated Hanoverian maxims. " II 
dit ensuite qu'il n'aimoit pas les maximes hanov- 
riennes." He also related — and of this there is 
no hint in the History — that the excitement caused 
by the speech, and the fear of what the debate 
might lead to, were so great that it was abruptly 
brought to a close by cries on all sides of " Divide, 
divide." ^ '* Tout le monde cria ' aux voix,' afin 
d'arreter le debat." 

The next debate, or rather series of debates, of 
which Montesquieu gives an account, and at some 
of which he appears to have been present, were the 
debates on the Pension Bill. This Bill was perhaps 
the most ingenious of the many manoeuvres of the 
Patriots. Walpole's strength lay in the support 
given him by those who were in the receipt of 
pensions or in the possession of places conferred 
by, and dependent on, the Crown. The Bill, intro- 
duced by Sandys and supported by the whole 
body of the Opposition, struck at the root of that 
corruption on which Walpole mainly depended for 
securing his majorities. It proposed to disable 

^ For all this see Notes sur PAfigleterre, where Shippen appears 
as Chipin, and Cobbett's Pari. Hist. {ed. 181 1), viii. 771-773. 



150 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

anyone from sitting in Parliament who enjoyed 
any pension during pleasure or for a number of years, 
or any offices held in trust for them from the Crown, 
and to require from every member sitting in the 
House a statement on oath that he was not in 
receipt of such patronage.^ 

The King, who called it " a villainous Bill," 
which ought ''to be torn to pieces in every par- 
ticular," was as indignant as Walpole was per- 
plexed.^ But Walpole was more than a match for 
his crafty opponents. As he knew what popular 
capital could be made out of an appeal against 
corruption — for it is one thing for men to defend 
and quite another thing to practise or utihse it — 
he allowed it to pass the Commons, knowing 
perfectly well that it would be rejected by the 
Lords. He thus threw the responsibility of its 
defeat on the Upper House, and so reheved himself 
and his supporters in the Commons of any odium 
which might be incurred by rejecting a measure 
so evidently framed in the interests of political 
virtue. It is not quite clear whether Montesquieu's 
notes refer to the debates of February 1730, when 
the Bill was first introduced, or to those of February 
1731, when it was introduced a second time. 

^ See Pari. Hist., vol. viii. p. 792 seqq. 
^ Coxe, Memoirs of Walpole, vol. i. p. 322. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 151 

Townshend appears to have spoken on the first 
occasion to the effect recorded by Montesquieu 
(see Coxe's Walpole, vol. i. p. 322), but he may 
possibly have spoken on the second occasion, 
though this is hardly likely, as he had then retired. 
In any case he gives some details, including a report 
of part of a speech of Townshend' s in the House 
of Lords, which are not to be found, so far as I 
can discover, elsewhere. " Why do we always 
allow ourselves to incur the public odium of always 
rejecting this Bill ? We ought to increase its 
penalties, and so frame the Bill that the Commons 
would reject it themselves." ^ So, in accordance 
with this happy suggestion, the Lords proceeded 
to increase the penalty against the corruptor and 
corrupted from £10 to £500, and decided that 
disputed elections should be tried by the ordinary 
judges and not by a committee of the House. 



^ Dans la derniere seance Milord Thousand (Townshend) dit : 
"Pourquoi nos chargeons-nous toujours de cette haine publique 
de rejeter toujours le bill? II faut augmenter las peines et faire 
le bill de manibre que les communes le rejettent elles memes : de 
fagon que, par ces belles iddes, les seigneurs augment^rent la 
peine tant centre le corrupteur que le corrompu, de dix k 
cinque cents livres, et mirent que se seroient les juges ordinaires 
qui jugeroient les Elections et non la chambre; qu'on suivroit 
toujours le dernier prejuge dans chaque cour." None of this is 
reported in the Parliamentary History. {N'otes sur FAngleterre; 
(Euvres, vol. vii. p. 192.) 



152 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

" It was a wonderful Bill," adds Montesquieu, " for 
it passed against the will of the Commons, the Peers, 
and the King." He was evidently ignorant of the 
tactics of Walpole, and could hardly have been 
behind the scenes in English politics. 

But by far the most interesting of Montesquieu's 
experiences of parliamentary methods was gained 
during the debate of March 2, 1730, on the affair 
of Dunkirk. It will be remembered that one of 
the provisions of the Treaties of Utrecht and of 
The Hague was that the port and fortifications of 
Dunkirk should be demolished. This condition the 
French had been very reluctant to fulfil ; and the 
work of demolition had been so often interrupted, 
and had proceeded so slowly, that several protests 
had been made against this dilatoriness in the last 
reign. Finally, however, the destruction was, or 
was believed to be, completed. But towards the 
end of 1729 Bohngbroke had been informed that 
the inhabitants of Dunkirk had rebuilt and repaired 
what had been destroyed or half destroyed. The 
report was confirmed by his secretary, a drunken, 
blundering rascal, whom he had sent to inquire 
into the matter. He saw with joy what political 
capital could be made out of the information, and 
at once communicated it to the Opposition. The 
Craftsman set to work. A cry was raised that the 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 153 

French were violating the Treaties of Utrecht and 
The Hague, and defying England ; and it was in- 
sinuated that Walpole, in his sympathy with our 
old enemies, was conniving at their conduct. An 
address was presented to the King, praying that 
he would be pleased to give directions that the 
orders, instructions, reports, and all proceedings in 
regard to the port and harbour of Dunkirk since 
the demolition should be laid before the House. 
On the following day the King acceded to the 
request. The result was a debate almost without 
parallel in the heat and fury with which it was 
conducted. It lasted from one o'clock in the 
afternoon till nearly three o'clock in the morning 
of the following day. Walpole, knowing the 
source of all the misrepresentations on which the 
action of the Opposition had been based, as well 
as its object, took occasion to review the career 
of Bolingbroke, — his treason, his treachery, his base 
ingratitude. Wyndham defended him, and drew 
a comparison between his friend and Walpole. 
Pelham answered Wyndham, and Bolingbroke 
again became the subject of a scathing exposure 
and philippic. 

" In my opinion," says Horace Walpole, " it was 
the greatest day, with respect to the thing itself 



154 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

and the consequences of it, both at home and abroad, 
for his Majesty and the present Ministry that I e^^er 
knew, and must, I think, prove a thunderbolt to 
the adversaries here as well as to their friends on 
your side the water." ^ 

Of this debate there are two accounts, — one given 
by Horace Walpole in his letter to Harrington, a 
passage from which I have just quoted, and the 
account given by Montesquieu. Of the speeches 
made, no reports have come down to us ; so the 
extract given by Montesquieu from Walpole' s 
speech is of particular interest. There is only one 
discrepancy. Walpole says the debate began 
" about five in the afternoon." Montesquieu says 
it began " une heure apres midi." It may be well 
in this case to give Montesquieu's account in the 
original — 

" J'allai avant-hier au parlement a la Chambre 
basse ; on y traita de I'affaire de Dunkerque. Je 
n'ai jamais vu un si grand feu. La seance dura 
depuis une heure apres midi jusqu'a trois heures 
apres minuit. La, les Frangois furent bien mal menes ; 
je remarquai jusqu'oCi va I'aff reuse jalousie qui est 
entre les deux nations. M. Walpole attaqua 
Bohngbroke de la fagon la plus cruelle, et disoit 
qu'il avoit mene toute cette intrigue. Le chevaher 

1 Letter to Lord Harrington and Mr. Poyntz, Coxa's Walpole, 
i. 324. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 155 

Windham le defendit. M. Walpole raconta en 
faveur de Bolingbroke I'histoire du paysan qui, 
passant avec sa femme sous un arbre, trouva qu'un 
homme pendu respiroit encore. II le detacha et le 
porta chez lui; il revint. lis trouverent le lende- 
main que cet homme leur avoit vole leurs four- 
chettes ; ils dirent : * II ne faut pas s'opposer au 
cours de la justice : il le faut rapporter ou nous 
I'avons pris. 



) >} 1 



With these experiences it is not strange that 
Montesquieu had no very high opinion of English 
politicians. " They have," he remarks, " no fixed 
purpose, but govern from day to day. Purely 
selfish and destitute of all principle, their sole aim 
is to get the better of their opponents ; and to 
attain that end they would sell England and all 
the Powers of the world." ^ 

The people, he found, had little respect for their 
rulers. The King he regarded as " a gentleman 
who has a beautiful wife, a hundred servants, a 
fine equipage, and a good table ; he is believed to 
be happy, but his happiness is all on the outside." ^ 
There was nothing to admire in him, and scarcely 
a day passes, says Montesquieu, in which one does 
not lose some respect for him. On the subject of 
the monarchy he makes one striking remark. He 

1 Notes sur r Angleterre ; CEuvres (edit. Laboulaye), vol. vii. p. 191. 
"^ Ibid.,^. 190. ^ Ibid., p. 188. 



(( 



(( 



156 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

is convinced that it is to the interest of France to 
support the King in England, for a repubhc would 
be far more dangerous ; a republic would act with 
all its powers in unison, whereas the King acts 
with divided powers. " However," he continues, 

things cannot rest much longer as they are." ^ 
Of the King he speaks elsewhere with contempt. 

If he observes decorum in public, in private he 
quarrels with his wife and with his servants, swears 
at his steward, and allows the Queen to be grossly 
insulted by his subjects." The Queen had, it 
seems, bought a piece of land to add to her private 
garden at Kensington, Thereupon Lady Bell 
Molyneux had some of the trees torn up, and 
brought an action against her for unlawful posses- 
sion, and, on the Queen expressing her desire to 
make some arrangement with her, she not only 
refused to treat, but kept the Queen's secretary 
waiting three hours before she would admit him 
to her presence.^ A French aristocrat might well 
be excused for expressing disgust and wonder at 
such a state of things in a country which was 
ostensibly a monarchy. 

Montesquieu was struck with the number and 
licentiousness of the newspapers and public prints, 

^ Notes sur r Angleterre ; CE?evres (edit. Laboulaye), vol. vii. p. 193. 
" /did., p. 186. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 157 

as well he may have been, for the daily and weekly 
journals together numbered at least twenty. Con- 
spicuous among them were the London Gazette, 
British Journal, Weekly Medley, Evening Post, 
Whitehall Evening Post, London Evening Post, 
St. James's Evening Post, London Journal, Appleby's 
Weekly Journal, British Gazetteer, The Postman, 
The Craftsman, The Daily Post, Fog's Weekly 
Journal, The Weekly Spectator, and probably 
others. Few, indeed, are aware that metropolitan 
journalism was as active at the beginning of 
George II. 's reign as it is in our day, and quite as 
popular among the masses. The very slaters, says 
Montesquieu, have the newspapers brought on to 
the roof that they may read them ('* un couvreur 
se fait apporter la gazette sur les toits pour 
la lire ")} It is clear that he was a regular 
reader of these publications. One curious Anti- 
catholic scandal he reports. He tells his friend. 
Father Cerati, with what indignation he had read 
how an innocent invention of the Cardinal de 
Rohan, for playing at backgammon and other 
games without noise and rattle, had, in one of the 
current journals/ been represented as designed 

^ Notes sur P Angleterre ; CEuvres (edit. Laboulaye), vol. vii. p. 189. 
2 The account and the misrepresentation will be found in 
■ppleby's Weekly Journal iox November 15, 1729. 



158 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

to encourage gambling in churches and bedrooms. 
He comments on the freedom of the press, and 
observes how easily it might be misunderstood by 
a foreigner. But its very licentiousness, he re- 
marks, is its corrective ; for, as it expresses with 
equal heat and intemperance the sentiments and 
opinions of the innumerable sects and factions 
into which the country is divided, it can do no 
mischief, because what is vociferated here neutral- 
ises what is vociferated there. 

At present,, he says, England is the freest country 
in the world, as the King can do no possible injury 
to any of his subjects, becausejiia power is limited 
and controlled by the law. If, he continues, the 
House of Commons were to succeed in getting the 
upper hand its power would be unHmited and 
dangerous, because it would include the executive ; 
whereas at present unlimited power is divided 
between the Parliament and King, the exec- 
utive being lodged in the King, whose power is 
limited. He makes one prophetic remark, observ- 
ing that if any nation were abandoned by its 
colonies, England would be the first to have such 
an experience. '' Je crois que si quelque nation 
est abandonnee de ses colonies, cela commencera 
par la nation angloise." ^ 

^ Notes sur V Angleterrc^ p. 194. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 159 



IV 



Of Montesquieu's social relations and connection 
with men of science in this country some interesting 
particulars can be collected. There can be little 
doubt that during the early part of his stay in 
England he was the guest of Chesterfield at his 
house in St. James's Square ; whether he con- 
tinued to reside there when Chesterfield returned to 
The Hague early in the following year is uncertain. 
As the guest and friend of Chesterfield, every house 
in London was, of course, open to him. He was pre- 
sented at Court ; he was elected a member of the 
Royal Society ; he became intimately acquainted 
with the Dukes of Richmond and Montague, 
whom he visited, and in whose society he passed, 
he said, the happiest hours in his life ; ^ with 
Carteret, afterwards Earl Granville ; with Charles 
Yorke, son of the Lord Chancellor Hardwicke ; 
with Andrew Mitchell, afterwards Ambassador at 
Berlin, a man of singular charm whom he appears 
to have regarded almost with affection ; and with 
Martin Folkes, vice-president of the Royal Society, 
with whom, on leaving England, he regularly 

1 Lettres Fam. ; CEuvres Computes, vol. vii. p. 267. 



i6o MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

corresponded. What is curious is that he never 
seems to have met BoHngbroke or Walpole, or to 
have become acquainted with Pope, or indeed 
with any other of the distinguished men of letters 
then hving in London. His social relations seem 
to have been confined almost exclusively to fashion- 
able and aristocratic circles, and to members of the 
Royal Society. 

The reason was probably this. Though he 
could read English and follow it when spoken, with 
perfect facility, he could not speak it intelligibly. 
This we learn from an amusing anecdote told by 
Diderot. On his return to France, Montesquieu 
happened to be with some ladies in the country, 
and, as one of them was an English lady, he 
addressed her in English ; but his pronunciation 
was so bad that she burst out laughing. Upon 
which he good-naturedly observed that it was not 
the first mortification of the kind which he had 
met with in his life. He added that, when he was 
in England, he went to call on the great Duke of 
Marlborough at Blenheim — obviously a mistake 
of Diderot's for the Duke of Montague, who had 
married Marlborough's daughter — and that, while 
being conducted round the palace by the Duke, 
he complimented his host on its splendours and 
beauties in the best English he could command, 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND i6i 

having very carefully got up what he thought 
were appropriate phrases. He had been talking 
thus for at least an hour^ when the Duke said 
to him : " I entreat you to be good enough to 
speak to me in English^ as I cannot understand 
French." ^ It may, however, be questioned 
whether he was ever quite at home in our 
language. In a letter to Charles Yorke, speaking 
of Warburton's Julian, he says that it had en- 
chanted him " quoique je n'aie que de tres 
mauvais lectures anglois et que j'ai presque oublie 
tout ce que j'en sgavois." ^ 

On October 5, 1730, he was presented by Chester- 
field to the King, Queen, and Prince of Wales at 
Kensington. The Queen, having asked him about 
his travels, went on to talk about the English 
stage. " How is it," she inquired of Chesterfield, 
" that Shakespeare, who lived in the time of Queen 
Elizabeth, has made his women talk so badly, and 
such fools as well ? " Chesterfield replied that in 
Shakespeare's time women did not go to the theatres, 
and, as only inferior actors played female parts, 

1 Diderot, Leftres a Mdlle. Volland, Letter LXXX. ; CEuvres 
Completes (ed. Assezat et Tourneux), xix. 134, quoted by Vian. 

2 Letter printed in Campbell's " Life of Charles Yorke," Lives of 
the Lord Chancellors, vii. 75. It is surprising that this interesting 
letter should not have been included in Montesquieu's collected 
correspondence. 

II 



i62 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

Shakespeare did not take the trouble to make 
them speak well. " But I/' says Montesquieu, 
" suggested another reason. To make women speak 
well a poet must have a knowledge of the world 
and of good manners ; but a knowledge of books 
is all that a poet requires to make heroes speak 
well." A commentary on Shakespeare by Chester- 
field and Montesquieu, we may remark in passing, 
would certainly have added most amusingly to 
the curiosities of criticism. The Queen then asked 
if it was true that the French preferred Corneille 
to Racine. Montesquieu, now on firmer ground, 
replied that Corneille was generally regarded as 
a sublimer genius than Racine, but Racine as a 
greater writer than Corneille.^ 

He again met Queen CaroUne on the evening of 
a day on which he had been dining with the Duke 
of Richmond. At the Duke's table La Boine, 
whom he describes as a stupid person, though a 
French envoy, maintained that England was not 
so large as Guienne, and Montesquieu contradicted 
and set him down. In the evening the Queen said : 
" I hear that you have been defending us against 
your countryman, M. la Boine." Montesquieu 
gallantly replied: "Madame, I could not imagine 
a country in which you reigned to be other than 

1 Notes sur FAngleterre ; CEuvres, vol. vii. p. 184. 




Iv\RO\ PK Mo\ ll'.SOl IKT 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 163 

a great country." ^ These were probably not his 
only interviews with the Queen. In any case, it 
was believed in Paris that he was a favourite with 
her, as we gather from a letter addressed to him by 
Fontenelle, asking him to use his influence to get 
her to befriend a young artiste who, having been 
most cruelly dismissed from the Opera in Paris, 
had taken refuge in London. 

" On dit que vous 6tes fort bien aupres de la reine " ; 
and he flatteringly adds, " je I'eusse presque devine, 
car il y a lon^ temps que je sais combien elle a 
du gotlt pour les gens d'esprit, et combien elle 
est accoutumee a ceux du premier ordre." ^ 

Before he was presented at Court he had had 
an honour conferred on him which he highly 
appreciated, and which was, in those days, coveted 
not merely by men distinguished in science and 
letters, but even by royalty itself. On February 
26, 1730, he was elected a member of the Royal 
Society. This honour he no doubt owed partly 
to the influence of Chesterfield and the vice-pre- 
sident, Martin Folkes, and partly to the fact that 
he was a member of the French Academy. His 

^ Montesquieu relates this with great complacency in his 
Pensies Diverses, CEuvres (edit. Laboulaye), vol. vii. p. 156. 

^ Fontenelle, CEuvres Computes (ed. Paris, 181 8), vol. ii. p. 566. 



i64 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

chief claim to this distinction, and a very legitimate 
one, was the reputation which he had gained by 
the scientific papers read by him at the Academy 
of Bordeaux.^ He announced his election to his 
friend. Father Cerati, in a letter dated March i, 
1730 : " Je fus regu il y a trois jours membre de 
la Societe royale de Londres." ^ During the re- 
mainder of his visit he regularly attended its 
meetings. 

With the vice-president, Martin Folkes, who 
had been the friend of Newton, and who was one 
of the most eminent scientific men of those times, 
he formed an affectionate friendship. In a letter 
addressed to him many years later he says : " Of 
all people in the world your memory is dearest to 
me ; I would rather live with you than with any 
one. To live with you is to love you." ^ These 
words may imply that, during part of his visit to 
England, he resided with Folkes. His connection 
with the Royal Society undoubtedly exercised 
great influence on him, and introduced him to much 
which was of incalculaj)le importance to his great 
work. To the end of his life he took the greatest 

1 " Sur la cause de I'echo " ; " Sur I'usage des glandes renales " ; 
'• Sur la cause de la pesanteur des corps" ; "Observations sur Thistoire 
naturelle" ; " Sur la cause de la transparence des corps." 

2 Lettres Fam. (February 1742); (Euvres, vol. vii. p. 253. 
8 Lettres Fam., xxx., (Euvres, vol. vii. p. 253. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 165 

interest in its transactions ; and it was under his 
supervision that Robert Wallace's Dissertation on 
the Numbers of Mankind in Ancient and Modern 
Times was translated into French. 

It was probably Folkes who introduced Montes- 
quieu to Charles Yorke, who came afterwards to 
so tragical an end, just after receiving the Great 
Seal. Charles Yorke, in addition to various accom- 
plishments, was one of the most charming men of 
his time, and Montesquieu highly valued his friend- 
ship, keeping up a constant correspondence with 
him after he left England.^ Yorke sent him War- 
burton's Dissertation on Julian, which Montes- 
quieu highly appreciated, expressing his admira- 
tion in such flattering terms that Yorke forwarded 
the letter to Warburton. With the letter he sent 
a note, which is interesting as showing the impres- 
sion which Montesquieu had made on him — 

" His heart is as good as his understanding, in all 
he sa3^s or writes, though he mixes now and then 
a little of the French clinquant with all his bright- 
ness and sohdity of genius as well as originality of 
expression." ^ 

And this seems to have been his just measure. 

^ For Montesquieu's relations with Charles Yorke, see Campbell's 
Lives of the Lord Chancellors, vii. 75, 76. 

- Warburton's Correspondence (ed. 1809), p. 507. 



i66 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

We have seen that Montesquieu's real opinion 
of the Enghsh was not one which would be Hkel^ 
to please them ; but he was too well-bred and too 
sincerely sensible of the hospitality he everywhere 
received to express himself in anything but the 
most flattering terms. In Spence's anecdotes we 
read — 

" Monsieur de Montesquieu, the author of the 
Persian Letters, is now with Lord Waldegrave, 
and is come to England with him. He says there 
are no men of true sense born anywhere but in 
England."^ 

Some years afterwards he wrote — 

" The English love the great men of their 
country, and in that extraordinary nation there are 
few people who have not some personal merit. 



>» 2 



How httle was generally known of his movements 
is indicated by the supposition that he was staying 
with Waldegrave, who was then at Vienna. And 
indeed, it is singular that the presence of such a 
distinguished man was, as far as the general pubHc 
was concerned, so entirely ignored. There is not 
a single reference to him, so far as I can discover, 
in the literary correspondence of those times, or 

1 Anecdotes (edit. Singer), p. 250. 

2 Lettres Fani.^ cxxvi. ; CEuvres, vol. vii. p. 407. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 167 

in the current newspapers ; his arrival, his move- 
ments, his departure are aHke unchronicled. And 
yet the Lettres Persanes had been translated into 
English as early as 1722, had been extremely 
popular, and had been reissued in a second edition 
not long after his arrival in England. His name 
was not, indeed, on the title-page ; but their 
authorship, as the translator's preface shows, was 
as much an open secret in London as it was in 
Paris. The only reference to him, or rather to his 
writings, which I can find in the public prints is 
an announcement in the Weekly Medley for 
November 29, 1728, of a translation of Mahmoiid 
and Genesvide, " written by the author of the 
Persian Letters." I need hardly say that no such 
work had ever come, or ever was to come, from 
his pen ; but the fiction at least shows that the 
publishers thought his name a name to conjure 
with. 

That so little notice should have been taken of 
him by the journals, and in the ana of contem- 
porary authors, is the more remarkable when we 
remember how frequently and how prominently 
Voltaire before him, and Rousseau after him, figure 
in both. But the reasons are not difficult to guess. 
One we have mentioned already — his defective 
knowledge of the language which kept him out of 



i68 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

general society. Another is probably to be found 
in his aristocratic leanings. He says in his Pensees 
Diverses — 

" Quoique mon nom ne soit ni bon ni mauvais, 
n'ayant guere que deux cent cinquante ans de 
noblesse prouvee, cependant j'y suis attache." * 

In other words, he was an aristocrat who could not 
afford to trifle with his position. Like La Roche- 
foucauld and Bussy-Rabutin among his own country- 
men, and like Horace Walpole and Gibbon among 
ours, he neither wished to be regarded as a man 
of letters nor affected the society of men of letters. 
Hence his acquaintance in this country was confined 
to Chesterfield's circle, and to a body of which 
almost every nobleman in England with any taste 
for learning was a member. If Chesterfield and 
Folkes were the links which connected him with 
intellectual society, the Dukes of Richmond and 
Montague appear to have been the chosen com- 
panions of his less serious recreations. In his 
correspondence he writes that the happiest hours 
of his life had been spent with them, and that it 
was impossible to say whether they should be loved 
most or respected most.^ 

^ (Etwres, vol. vii. p. 152. 

2 Lettres Fam., xxiv. ; CEuvres, vol. vii. p. 245. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 169 

As Montesquieu had convivial tastes, we need 
not question the sincerity of the statement about 
happy hours ; but in his difficulty in settling the 
proportion of love and respect is, we fear, to be 
discerned the clinquant of which Charles Yorke 
speaks. A duller and grosser person than Charles 
Lennox, second Duke of Richmond, never existed. 
Queen Caroline compared him to a mule, and 
doubted whether he was more than half-witted ; 
while Horace Walpole described him as '' the only 
man who loved the Duke of Newcastle." He was 
a heavy drinker ; and in his brutal and stupid 
orgies at Goodwood champagne flowed so freely 
that Montesquieu deemed it expedient to warn his 
friend, the Abbe Comte de Guasco, against toasting 
him too often at Richmond's table.* John, Duke of 
Montague, had certainly convivial qualities of the 
highest order, and was the author of a hoax com- 
pared with which the best of Theodore Hooke's 
dwindles into vulgar horseplay ; ^ but he was, and 
remained all his life, little more than an overgrown 
schoolboy. Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, his 
mother-in-law, thus describes him ^ — 

1 Le tires Fam., CEtwres, vol. vii. p. 332. 

^ For an account of this inimitable pleasantry, see Jesse's 
Memoirs of the Court of England from the Revohitio7i to the Death 
of George II., vol. iii. pp. 58-61. 

^ See Walpole^s Letters (edit. Cunningham), vol. i. p. 339. 



170 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

" All my son-in-law's talents lie in things only 
natural in boys of fifteen years old, and he is about 
two-and-fifty : to get people into his garden and 
wet them with squirts, and to invite people to his 
country-houses and put things into their beds to 
make them itch, and twenty such pretty fancies 
like these." 

Of one of these pretty fancies Mostesquieu was 
the victim. The Duke had invited him, shortly 
after they had become acquainted, to his country- 
house, — in all probability Blenheim. Not long after 
his arrival it was arranged that there should be " a 
play of ambassadors," which means, I suppose, that 
host and guest were to approach each other with 
stately ceremony. Meanwhile a large tub full of 
cold water had been concealed in a hollow under 
the ground just where the guest had to step as he 
made his bow. As soon as his feet reached the 
tub, in he went, soused over head and ears in the 
water. " I thought it odd, to be sure," said 
Montesquieu, when he told the tale many years 
afterwards to Charlemont, 

" but a traveller, as you well know, must take the 
world as it goes ; and indeed," he good-naturedly 
added, " his great goodness to me and his incom- 
parable understanding far overpaid me for all the 
inconveniences of my ducking." ^ 

^ Hardy's Life of Charlemont^ vol. i. p. 65. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 171 

One of the most striking features of Montesquieu's 
temper is illustrated by his commentary on this 
incident. A grosser outrage on those social decen- 
cies which even savages respect could be scarcely 
imagined than the conduct of this English noble- 
man. But Montesquieu, with reference to it, went 
on to say — 

" Liberty, however, is the glorious cause ; that it 
is which gives human nature fair-play and allows 
every singularity to show itself, and which, for one 
less agreeable oddity it may bring to light, gives to 
the world ten thousand great and useful examples." 

And it was with the same lucid, balanced, and 
catholic intelligence that he penetrated beneath the 
surface of all that met his view in England. In 
the ignoble game which Walpole and the Patriots 
were playing at Westminster, in all the evils and 
curses inherent in party government, in the un- 
bridled licence of the press, in the coarse and 
brutal manners of the commonalty, he saw that 
for which all the elegance that made the Paris of 
the Grand Monarqtie the home of the Graces and 
the comely image of specious tranquillity would 
have been, after all, but a sorry exchange.^ 

^ This is undoubtedly what is to be deduced from the general 
tenor of his writings ; what he says in the preface to the Esprit des 
Lois was no doubt a concession to prudence. 



172 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

It is not likely that Montesquieu visited Ireland, 
but he was interested in the Irish question, and 
divined its importance. In a conversation which 
he had with Charlemont many years later, at La 
Brede, he strongly advocated the Union. 

" Were I an Irishman " (he said) '* I should cer- 
tainly wish for it ; and, as a general lover of 
liberty, I sincerely desire it ; and for this plain 
reason, that an inferior country connected with 
one much her superior in force can never be certain 
of the permanent enjoyment of constitutional 
freedom unless she has by her representatives a 
proportional share in the legislature of the superior 
kingdom." ^ 

But it was not in politics, in science, and in 
social life only that Montesquieu was interested. 
Just before his arrival in England, and during his 
residence here, William Kent, the forerunner of 
Brown, was revolutionising horticultural embellish- 
ment and initiating landscape-gardening. The old 
Dutch and French style, in which, as Pope's 
happy satire expresses it — 

" No pleasing intricacies intervene, 
No artful wildness to perplex the scene ; 
Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother, 
And half the platform just reflects the other," 

1 Hardy's Life of Charlemont (ed. 1810) vol. i. p. 70. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 173 

was being exchanged for what Walpole calls the 
style " that reahses painting and improves nature." 
It was thus that Kent laid out the gardens of 
Carlton House and Kensington, and Pelham's 
garden and park at Claremont. The new fashion 
had become the rage ; and among its admirers 
none was more enthusiastic than Montesquieu. 
He determined, on his return to France, to recon- 
struct the grounds of La Brede on Kent's model, 
and he gave his steward L'Eveille no rest till the 
work was done. He refers more than once in his 
correspondence to the delight he felt in seeing his 
pleasance thus charmingly transformed. " I long 
to show you my villa," he said to Charlemont, 
** as I have endeavoured to form it according to 
the English taste, and to cultivate and dress it 
after the English manner" ; ^ and in describing it to 
a friend he is careful to add that he had laid it out 
in a fashion " dont j'ai pris I'idee en Angleterre." 

The exact date of Montesquieu's departure from 
England it is impossible to fix. M. Edgar Zevort 
says that it was in April 1731, but he appears to 
have no authority for this statement. He was 
certainly at home at La Brede, as his correspondence 
shows, on August 10, 1731. The latest event of 

^ Hardy's Charlemont^ vol. i. p. 63. 



174 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

which the date can be fixed is his presentation at 
Court on October 5, 1730. But tradition agrees 
in assigning a longer period for his residence here 
than would be compatible with its termination in 
the autumn of 1730. D'Alembert in his Eloge says 
that Montesquieu was in England for three years ; 
the writer of the article in the Biographie Uni- 
verselle gives two years ; so also does J. J. Rut- 
ledge in his £loge de Montesquieu} In the Eloge 
by his son the time assigned is nearly two years 
(" pres de deux ans ").^ The dates given by MM. 
Vian,' Sorel, and others — from November 1729 to 
April 1731, and from October 1729 to August 173 1 
— being purely conjectural, carry no authority. 
Taking tradition and probability as our guides, 
we may assume that he left England either in the 
spring or in the summer of 1731 ; and, as he arrived 
on October 23, 1729, he must therefore have resided 
here, as his son states, nearly two years. 

Of his visit to England he retained to the last 
the most pleasing impressions ; he spoke of it more 
than once as the happiest time in his life. When, 
many years afterwards, Charlemont visited him at 
La Brede, he found the President full of delightful 

^ £/oge de Montesquieu, p. 17. 

2 See Appendix to Vian (ed. 1878), p. 401. 

2 Histoire de Montesquieu, p. 128. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 175 

memories of England and of the English, though 
perhaps courtesy had something to do with the 
enthusiasm with which he spoke of them. " I 
too," he said, " have been a traveller, and have 
seen the country in the world which is most worthy 
of our curiosity, I mean England." Adding, 
" there is no country under Heaven which produces 
so many great and shining characters." ^ But 
his correspondence vouches for the sincerity of his 
sentiments. " How I wish" (he wrote to his friend 
Cerati) " that I could visit England again with 
you ! " " The longer you remain in London, the 
more kindness you will receive," were his words to 
another friend, words, it must be owned, very difficult 
to reconcile with what he had written in his Notes 
sur r Angleterre. And for the rest of his life he kept 
in close touch with his English friends. With Folkes 
he regularly corresponded, and he proposed that 
they should interchange copies of important books 
printed in England and France, politely adding, 
" il est bien certain que la marchandise angloise 
vaudra mieux que la frangoise." ^ 

Some twelve years after his departure he com- 
municated to the Royal Society, through Folkes, 
an interesting paper " On stones of a regular figure 

^ Hardy's Life of Charlemont, vol. i. p. 64. 

- Letters Fam., (Eiivres (edit. Laboulaye), vol. vii. p. 265. 



176 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

found near Bagneres in Gascony." ^ He corre- 
sponded with Hume, who sent him his Treatise on 
Human Nature, which he read, he says, with dehght. 
He exchanged letters with Warburton — whose Dis- 
sertation on Julian had " enchanted " him — on the 
subject of BoHngbroke's posthumous works ; and 
his letter to Warburton on the distinction between 
attacks on Natural and Revealed Religion is of 
singular interest." When his sight was failing, and 
when he had, as he tells us himself, almost forgotten 
all the English he knew, he employed an English 
secretary to read to him, and took care to be 
regularly informed of what was being produced in 
[)hilosophy and science on this side of the Channel. 
Of his correspondence it is quite clear that a 
large portion has either been destroyed or lost ; 
and nothing is more to be regretted than the 
absence of the letters which passed between himself 
and Chesterfield. For Chesterfield he had the 
sincerest affection and esteem ; he thought him 
the best of critics ; and it is not unlikely that the 
Esprit des Lois owed much, and very much, to his 
English friend's suggestions. The affection and 
esteem were mutual. As soon as the news of 

^ Printed in the Philosophic Trnjisactions of the Royal Society^ 
xliii. 26-34, but not included in his works. 

2 CEuvres (edit. Laboulaye), vol. vii. pp. 431-434. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 177 

Montesquieu's death reached England, Chesterfield 
inserted in a London newspaper a memorial of his 
friend, which is a model of graceful and discriminat- 
ing eulogy. 

" His virtues did honour to human nature ; his 
writings justice. A friend to mankind, he asserted 
their undoubted and inalienable rights with free- 
dom, even in his own country, whose prejudices in 
matters of religion and government he had long 
lamented, and endeavoured, not without some 
success, to remove. He well knew and justly 
admired the happy constitution of this country, 
where fixed and known laws equally restrain 
monarchy from tyranny, and hberty from licen- 
tiousness. His works will illustrate his name and 
survive him as long as right reason, moral obliga- 
tion, and the true spirit of laws shall be under- 
stood, respected, and maintained. 



" 1 



What Montesquieu owed to England is exactly 
indicated in D'Alembert's iiloge — 

" He formed intimate friendships with men ac- 
customed to think and to prepare themselves for 
great actions by profound studies ; with them he 
instructed himself in the nature of the government, 
and attained to a thorough knowledge of it." 

1 See the Evening Post, February 17553 and Stanhope's 
Chesterfield^ s Letters, iv. p. 148. 
12 



178 MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

He said himself, in generalising on what his 
acquaintance with the chief countries in Europe 
had taught . him, that Germany was made to 
travel in, Italy to sojourn in, France to live 
in, and England to think in." ^ His stay in 
England gave the ply to his future studies. It 
transformed the author of the Persian Letters 
and of the Temple de Guide into the author of 
the Considerations sur la Grandeur et Decadence 
des Romains and of the Esprit des Lois. The 
study of our constitution, of our politics, of 
our laws, of our temper and idiosyncrasies, of 
our social system, of our customs, manners, and 
habits, furnished him with material which was 
indispensable to the production of his great work. 
It was here that he saw illustrated, as it were 
in epitome and with all the emphasis of glaring 
contrast, the virtues, the vices, the potentialities 
of good, the potentialities of evil, inherent in 
monarchy, in aristocracy, in the power of the 
people. It was here that he perceived and under- 
stood what liberty meant, intellectually, morally, 
politically, socially. He saw it in its ugliness, he 
saw it in its beauty. Patiently, soberly, without 
prejudice, without heat, he investigated, analysed, 
sifted, balanced ; and on the conclusions that he 
^ D'Alembert's Eloge de Montesquieu. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 179 

drew were founded most of the generalisations 
which have made him immortal. 

Nor must we forget the importance of the more 
immediate result of his English studies. If Rapin 
de Thoyras anticipated him in interpreting con- 
stitutional government to Europe, it was not till 
Montesquieu reinterpreted it that its principles 
attracted serious and influential interest — with 
what momentous consequences we all know. In 
English history he was minutely and profoundly 
versed ; and illustrations from it spring more 
readily to his pen than any others. Essentially 
original as his own work is, his indirect indebted- 
ness to English writers is certainly considerable. 
That he could read and follow our language in 
conversation is proved by the untranslated books 
with which he was acquainted, and by the notes 
which he took in Parliament. He was intimately 
acquainted with the wrilin;:^'' ^-f ' ocke, whom he 
calls the great instructor of mankind ; he was 
versed in the writings of Hobbes ; he had analysed 
Algernon Sidney's Discourses. With Harring- 
ton's Oceana, a work which has undoubtedly had 
great influence on him,^ he was well acquainted. 

^ For the influence of Harrington on Montesquieu, see some 
interesting remarks in J. J. Rutledge's ^loge de Montesquieu^ pp. 
19-22. 



i8o MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND 

He had carefully perused the histories of Burnet 
and Echard, and knew Stowe's Survey of London. 
He had read More's Utopia and Mandeville's Fahle 
of the Bees. He more than once quotes Addison's 
Spectator with a felicity which could only have 
come from familiarity. For Shaftesbury he seems 
to have had great admiration, whimsically placing 
him with Plato, Malebranche, and Montaigne at 
the head of the great poets of the world. From 
the narratives of English travellers are derived at 
least a third of his illustrations of eastern and 
savage life. To our poets, indeed, he seldom refers ; 
but his reference to the poets of his own country 
are almost as rare. We had nothing to teach him 
in style and in the art of composition, though the 
England of his sojourn was the England of Boling- 
broke and Pope ; and, so far as mere books are 
concerned, he had, when he visited us, little to learn. 
But it is not too much to say that the Esprit des 
Lois would either never have seen the light, or 
would have appeared without many of its most 
shining parts, had Montesquieu never set foot on 
our shores. 

" Apres deux ans de sejour a Londres," as 
Villemain ^ puts it, " Montesquieu revint, enrichi, 
comme Voltaire, de tout un ordre d'idees nouvelles 
^ Coiirs de Litterature Fran^aise, Lecture xiv. Dix-Huitihne Sicdc. 



MONTESQUIEU IN ENGLAND i8i 

— to proceed at once to the composition first of 
La Grandeur et la Decadence des Romains, and then 
to the serious inception of the Esprit des Lois. 
An aphorism attributed to him no doubt exactly 
indicates the nature of the important debt he owed 
to his visit to this country, — " one should travel in 
Germany, sojourn in Italy, and think in England." 
It was in England that the ideas embodied in both 
these masterpieces took definite form, in England 
that they found stimulus and inspiration, from 
England that they drew nutriment. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 



The circumstances under which Rousseau sought 
an asylum in England, and his residence here 
between January 1766 and May 1767, can scarcely 
be described as an unwritten chapter in his bio- 
graphy, because they have been treated with some 
fulness both by Burton in his Life of Hume, and by 
Mr. John Morley in his well-known monograph on 
Rousseau. But Burton confines himself chiefly to 
Rousseau's relations with Hume ; and considera- 
tions of symmetry, as well as the plan and design 
of Mr. Morley's work, necessarily precluded him 
from entering too much into detail about what was 
after all only a short episode in a long and some- 
what crowded life. And yet this episode well 
deserves particular attention. Nothing which con- 
cerns a man so truly extraordinary can be without 
interest ; everything which can throw light on his 
peculiarities and character is of importance. The 
visit to England was the turning-point of his life ; 

i8z 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 183 

it was more ; it witnessed or occasioned the trans- 
formation of the author of La Nouvelle HUo'ise, of 
Emile, of the Contrat Social, of the Lettre d 
Christophe de Beaumont, into the author of the 
Confessions, of the Reveries, of the Dialogues, and 
of the Letter to General Conway. It found him, no 
doubt, a compound as whimsical as Pascal's and 
Pope's picture of man, but consistent in inconsist- 
ency and perfectly intelligible, — it left him a psycho- 
logical problem almost as puzzling and fascinating 
as Swift. 

It is commonly supposed that the eccentricities 
which always distinguished him simply became 
exaggerated in England, and that he was essentially 
the same man between 1766 and his death as he had 
been before. This was certainly not the case. To 
speak of him indeed as losing the balance of his 
mind and as becoming actually insane will help 
us to no solution, for balance he never had, and 
insanity in the ordinary acceptation of the term 
is, for several reasons, out of the question as an 
explanation of his peculiarities. But a great change 
passed over him. He was no longer what he had 
been. His genius, it is true, burned at times as 
brightly as ever, but it became depraved and 
morbid. The noble traits which had for so many 
years more than redeemed his extravagance and 



i84 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

folly reveal themselves only by glimpses. He 
ceased practically to be responsible either for his 
actions or for his utterances. It was not merely 
that he lost all control over himself and allowed 
his will to become the prey of every momentary 
impulse, of every caprice of fancy, of every accident 
of impression, but that he found a perverted 
pleasure in torturing himself with pure delusions, 
delusions as baseless and monstrous as the forgeries 
of madness. The world owes too much to Rousseau 
to do him injustice, and greater injustice could not 
be done him than to draw no distinction between 
his character and writings during the latter years of 
his life and his character and writings when he 
was in his vigour. Unfortunately, however, for 
his reputation he is best known and commonly 
judged by the work of his degeneracy, the Con- 
fessions, the greater part of which was written 
during his residence in England, and by the impres- 
sion made by his quarrel with Hume. But the 
Rousseau who penned the Confessions and who 
quarrelled with Hume was not the Rousseau who is 
the legitimate object of the homage and gratitude 
of the civilised world, but the victim of a mysterious 
and terrible malady, the first symptoms of which 
began to declare themselves shortly after he arrived 
in London. If we assume, as his biographers 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 185 

assume, that no real change took place in him, 
but that his normal and natural infirmities simply 
became accentuated, it is impossible to regard him 
with any other feelings than contempt and repulsion. 
The assumption, indeed, involves more ; it casts 
suspicion and discredit on his career and character 
as a whole, on his sincerity as a man, on his sincerity 
as a writer. But if we assume what for my own 
part I believe to be the case, and what I venture 
to think a careful review of his residence in England 
will establish, then the true Rousseau becomes 
separated from the false, and profound commisera- 
tion takes the place of contempt. 

And nowhere, as Mr. Morley well observes, is 
the change which at this time passed over him 
so painfully and even so terribly apparent as in the 
portrait of him painted by Wright of Derby in the 
spring of 1766, an impression of which appears as 
the frontispiece of this essay. " It is," says Mr. 
Morley, " almost as appalling in its realism as some 
of the dark pits that open before the reader of 
the Confessions." Who, indeed, can mistake the 
story which that tragic face too surely tells ? — that 
furrow-ploughed brow, those lined and harassed 
features, that glance of mingled impotence, dejec- 
tion, and defiance ? 



i86 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 



II 



A brief review of the chief incidents in his career 
from the summer of 1762 till he landed at Dover is 
a necessary preliminary to an account of his life 
in England. " Ici commence I'oeuvre de tenebres 
dans lequel, depuis huit ans, je me trouve enseveli," 
are the words with which in his Confessions he 
opens the records of the second part of that year.^ 
And the clouds had gathered with appalling sudden- 
ness. It was two o'clock on the morning of the 
9th of June in that year ; he had just closed 
the Bible, in which he had been reading the story 
of the Levite of Ephraim, and had sunk into a half- 
doze. All at once he was disturbed by lights and 
noises. An express had arrived from Madame de 
Luxembourg, enclosing a letter from the Prince de 
Conti. It informed him that the Parliament of Paris 
had resolved to arrest him as the author of Emile, 
and that he must fly at once. Leaving his mistress 
Therese to look after his papers and to settle his 
affairs, he hurried off in a postchaise in the direction 

^ Confessions, Partie II. Livre XI. CEiivres Completes, vol. vi. p. 
137, edit. Lahure. All the references in the notes are to this 
edition. 



\ 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 187 

of Switzerland. From this moment he knew no 
peace. The ParUament of Paris had set a precedent 
which other Councils were not slow to follow. 
Before the end of the month the Council of Geneva 
ordered The Social Contract, as well as Entile, to 
be burnt, and forbade the author, under pain of 
immediate arrest, to set foot on their territory. 
The Council of Berne was about to follow, but he 
anticipated their action by removing to Motiers, 
in the Val de Travers, a principality of Neuchatel, 
then under the dominion of Prussia. Here he 
was joined by Therese, and here for upwards of 
three years he resided, till the autumn of 1765. 

But he had no rest. He had scarcely settled 
there, secure under the protection of George, Lord 
Keith, the Governor of Neuchatel, when he learned 
to his surprise that the Sorbonne had condemned 
Emile and censured its author. This was followed 
by a mandement of Christophe de Beaumont, Arch- 
bishop of Paris, against him, which affected him, 
he said, much more, for the Archbishop was a man 
whom he had always respected. He replied to this 
in what is the masterpiece of his polemical writings, 
the Lettre a Christophe de Beaumont, which well 
deserves to be read by every one who would know 
what Rousseau can be in his hour of strength. He 
had scarcely answered the Archbishop when ignobler 



i88 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

adversaries began' to pester him. Eight years before 
he had been restored to the Reformed Church ; 
he now pubHcly attended the services and was 
admitted by the pastor to the Communion. This 
greatly irritated his many enemies, and his con- 
demnation by the Council of Geneva furnished 
them with a handle against him. But if he had 
many adversaries he had many partisans, and a 
furious controversy ensued. Matters became the 
more complicated because his case involved not 
only the whole question of the prerogatives of the 
Council, but a collision between the principles of 
civil liberty and oligarchic despotism ; it was not 
simply a religious feud, but a political feud also. 
The allies of the Council and oligarchy took their 
stand with his persecutors, the opponents of both 
with his supporters. The Council found a voice 
in a series of letters, written with great vigour 
and ability b}^ Jean Robert Tronchin, under the 
title of Lettres Rentes de la Campagne. To these 
Rousseau, who had now taken the bold step of 
formally renouncing his rights of citizenship and 
burgess-ship in Geneva, replied in his famous 
Lettres de la Montagne, a work which, read with 
indignant sympathy, won him the fame of a martyr 
in every country in Europe. Nothing he ever 
wrote made a deeper impression, particularly in 



I 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 189 

England. Tronchin had been an honourable 
opponent. This could not be said for his next 
assailant. A more atrocious libel than the Senti- 
ments des Citoyens, which Rousseau attributed, but 
attributed erroneously, to the Pastor Vernes, never 
disgraced controversy. Rousseau's answer was its 
republication in Paris with a prefatory note stating 
that it was from the pen of a Genevese pastor, and 
he gave his name. Vernes denied that he was 
the author, as well he might do, for the real author 
was Voltaire.^ Rousseau insisted, however, that 
the culprit was Vernes, and for some weeks, to the 
infinite amusement of the real culprit, asseverations 
and denials were bandied between them. The 
clergy of Neuchatel very naturally took the side 
of Vernes, and Rousseau was admonished not to 
present himself at the next Communion. Against 
this he protested, but protested in vain. 

The whole place was now up in arms against 
him. He had in truth embroiled himself with 
enemies who never forgive, and who, if they are 
foiled at one weapon, have no difficulty in finding 
another ; and the controversy soon travelled out 



^ See Voltaire, CEuvres Completes (Beuchot, Paris), vol. xxv. p. 
309 seqq., with Beuchot's note. Mr. Morley and the biographers 
do not appear to be aware that this was one of the many monkey- 
tricks of Voltaire. 



igo ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

of the domain of legitimate polemics. A con- 
spiracy was formed to drive him out of the province 
by inciting the laity and peasantry against him. 
The attention of the orthodox who could read was 
directed to the Savoyard vicar's profession of faith 
in Emile ; of those who could not read, to the 
deductions drawn from it by those who could, and 
to the censure of the Sorbonne. To the virtuous 
it was pointed out that he was living with a mistress, 
and this gave great scandal in a district where the 
bourgeois were scrupulous about such matters. 
His solitary rambles, his strange dress, and his 
eccentric habits became pretexts for circulating 
calumnies of all kinds against him. It was even 
rumoured that he was Anti-Christ, and in the eyes 
of the vulgar his Armenian furred bonnet, caftan, 
and cincture lent colour to the accusation. The 
wildest stories were current about the object of 
his botanical excursions ; it was represented that 
he was a secret poisoner, and that under the pre- 
tence of botanising he went about in quest of 
noxious herbs. But nothing, it seems, did him more 
injury than a report that in one of his writings he 
had asserted that women had no souls. This was 
a master stroke on the part of his enemies, for it 
was one of those remarks which, in Swift's phrase, 
is levelled to the meanest intelligence. It struck 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 191 

home, as it was sure to do, going the round of every 
household in the province. Every lover, every 
uxorious husband, every dutiful son and daughter, 
and every woman in the district, to a soul, joined 
the cry against this atrocious libeller of the female 
sex. 

At the end of the summer of 1765 the unhappy 
man found it impossible to remain longer at Motiers. 
Stones were thrown at him in the street ; both he 
and his mistress Therese were insulted and assaulted 
whenever the}' went abroad. A diabolical plot 
was formed to kill him as he left his house, and it 
seemed certain that the only thing that could save 
him from assassination was flight. After some 
hesitation he resolved to betake himself to the 
He de Saint Pierre, a charming little island in the 
Lake of Bienne, the beauties of which he has cele- 
brated in the fifth of his Reveries. Here for a few 
weeks he had peace, and here he wished and ex- 
pected to end his days. But the island was in the 
jurisdiction of Berne, and scarcely had he settled 
there when he received notice from the Bernese 
Government to quit the island and their territory 
within fifteen days. The blow was as crushing as 
it was unexpected. He knew that the decree was 
irrevocable, and that it was useless to resist it. All 
he could do was to gain time. He wrote to the 



192 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

Bailli Graffenried, telling him that he would obey 
the orders of the authorities, but imploring him to 
request them to grant him a few weeks that he 
might make his preparations. Two days after- 
wards he followed this letter with another. It 
was a petition to the Bernese Government to lodge 
him in a prison where he would live at his own 
expense, and engage not to touch pen or paper or 
hold any communication with the outside world 
for the rest of his life. " All my passions," he 
said, " are extinguished ; nothing remains but an 
ardent desire for repose and retirement." His 
miseries, he complained, were without example. 
To a man in health and strength the ceaseless 
distractions in which for many years his life had 
been passed would be terrible ; to a poor invalid 
exhausted with weariness and misfortune and 
anxious only for the peace of death they were 
intolerable.^ But all was of no avail. He must 
quit the Bernese territory. What to do and whither 
to go he knew not. To return to Neucheitel was 
out of the question. From any long journey he 
shrank in horror, for winter was approaching, and 
he was afflicted by a malady which made travelling 
not merely inconvenient but most distressing. He 

1 See this most pathetic letter, — Lettre DCCXVIL, Ann^e 
1765, (Euvres Completes, vol. viii. pp. 44-47- 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 193 

had, however, no choice ; he must seek an asylum 
somewhere. Should he go to Vienna, where his 
friend the Prince of Wiirtemberg, who had long 
wished the author of Emile to undertake the educa- 
tion of his daughter, had already procured a passport 
for him ? Or to Corsica, which had invited him to 
be its legislator, and where he knew Paoli would 
welcome him with open arms ? Should he accept 
Madame d'Houdetot's invitation to settle in 
Normandy, or Saint Lambert's to settle in Lorraine ? 
Should he join his kind patron, Lord Keith, at 
Berlin or Potsdam, and throw himself on the pro- 
tection of the King of Prussia, who had already 
befriended him ? This at last seemed the best 
plan. The 30th of October found him at B^le, and 
the beginning of November at Strasburg, but so 
prostrated with what he describes as the most 
detestable journey which he had ever made in his 
life, that it would be as impossible for him, he said, 
to go on to Berlin as it would be to go to China. 
At Strasburg he changed his plans, and, as he could 
not bear the fatigue of travelling to Berlin, he 
determined to accept an invitation which had been 
more than once pressed on him, but which he had 
always refused. 



13 



194 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 



III 



In no country in Europe was Rousseau more 
highly esteemed than in England. The most 
favourable reviews both of his Nouvelle Helo'ise and 
of his Emile had appeared in the English news- 
papers and periodicals. Long extracts from the 
first had shortly after its publication been a pro- 
minent feature in the columns of the London 
Chronicle, which had also instituted an elaborate 
parallel between him and Richardson. The Gentle- 
man's Magazine had drawn attention to its beauties. 
Translations of it were widely circulated, and Julie, 
Saint Preux, Walmar, and Lord Edward were as 
familiar to polite society on this side of the Channel 
as they were on the other. ^ Emile was equally 
popular, though with a different class of readers, 
and its theories were discussed in print and in con- 
versation by all who were interested in the topics 
which it treats. The hearts of Puritans had been 
won by the Letter to D'Alembert, a translation of 
which in the Annual Register closely followed the 

^ In a letter to Madame Boy de la Tour he distinctly says 
that this was the reason of his coming to England. Lettres Inedites, 
publides par Henri de Rothschild, 1892. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 195 

appearance of the original. The Social Contract 

had not been regarded with so much favour, but 

its audacity and originahty had excited the keenest 

curiosity about its author. The cruel persecutions, 

moreover, to which he had been submitted in 

Switzerland and France, and the proscription of 

his writings, had been faithfully recorded in the 

public prints, and had won for him the sympathy 

of all friends of liberty. He was the native of a 

principality which had been in close touch with 

England ever since the days of the Marian exiles. 

Many distinguished Genevese had been associated 

with the Royal Society. Newton corresponded 

with Abauzit. Delorme, Francois dTvernois, and 

Mallet du Pan had upheld the British Constitution 

as a model for Europe. Many eminent Genevans 

— Alphonse Turretin, Tronchin, Andre de Luc, 

De Saussure, Abauzit — all had studied in the 

English Universities.^ The friend whom he most 

loved and respected was a Scotsman, and in 

Gibbon, whose neighbour he had been in 1763, he 

had another link between Geneva and England. 

Nor could he have been ignorant of the hospitable 

welcome which another neighbour, Voltaire, had 

received in 1726. Though he could neither read 

1 See M. Joseph Texte's J. J. Rousseau et les Origines du 
Cosmopolitisme Litt^raire, p. 107. 



196 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

nor speak English, he was well acquainted through 
translation with the writings of Hobbes, Algernon 
Sidney, Locke, Milton, Addison, Pope, Richardson, 
and the masterpiece of De Foe, all of which had 
been influential on his work.^ Nor was this all. 
Some years before, he had been entranced with 
Voltaire's Lettres Philosophiques, and in 1756 he had 
read with equal interest Beat de Muralt's Lettres 
sur les Anglais et les Frangais,^ both of which had 
not only impressed him most favourably with 
regard to the English, but had shown him what 
a cordial welcome would in all probability await 
him. 

As early as the spring of 1762, when Rousseau 
first sought refuge at Neuch§.tel, the good sense of 
Lord Keith had seen that his only safe asylum was 
the asylum which Voltaire had sought. There he 
could enjoy what he never could enjoy on the 
Continent — " placidam sub libertate quietem." 
This Lord Keith explained to him, promising to 
recommend him to his friends in England, and 
offering to place at his disposal a suite of apartments 
at Keith Hall, a residence which belonged to him 

1 The influence exercised on him by these writers requires no 
illustration. For his admiration of Milton, see Emile, Livre V. 
CEuvres Completes^ vol. ii. p. 216. See, too Apologie du Theatre^ 
CEuvres Cojnplkes, vol. i. p. 343. 

" Texte, p. 122. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 197 

in Scotland. Madame de Boufflers gave him the 
same advice, and both of them wrote to Hume. 
Hume's reply reached Madame de Boufflers when 
she was in London, in the summer of 1762. He 
expressed the utmost readiness to assist Rousseau, 
for there was, he said, no man in Europe of whom 
he had entertained a higher idea, and whom he 
would be prouder to serve ; he revered, he said, his 
greatness of mind, ** which makes him fly obliga- 
tions and dependence." He would instantly write 
to all his friends, " and make them sensible of 
the honour M. Rousseau has done us in choosing 
an asylum in England." The English, he added, 
were happy at present in a king who had a taste 
for literature, and he only hoped that M. Rousseau 
would not disdain the benefits which such a king 
would be sure to confer on him. Hume then wrote 
directly to Rousseau, supposing, erroneously, that 
he was already in London. Meanwhile, Madame de 
Boufllers had translated into French those parts 
of Hume's letter which had reference to Rousseau, 
and forwarded it, though with considerable delay, 
to Neuch^tel. Rousseau read it with transports of 
delight, showed it to Lord Keith, and hurried, in 
ecstasy, to reply to it. 



(( 



Que ne puis-je esperer de nous voir un jour " 



igS ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

— so runs the conclusion of his letter — " rassembles 
avec Milord dans votre commune patrie, qui 
deviendroit la mienne ! Je benirois^ dans une 
societe si douce, les malheurs par lesquels j'y fus 
conduit, et je croirois n' avoir commence de vivre 
que du jour qu'elle auroit commence. Puisse-je 
voir cet heureux jour plus desire qu'espere ! Avec 
quel transport je m'ecrierois en touchant I'heureuse 
terre oti sont nes David Hume et le marechal 
d'ficosse — 

" ' Salve, fatis mihi debita tellus ! 
Hie domus, hsec patria est.'"^ 

He regrets the mistake he had made in settling 
at Motiers instead of going on to England. The 
truth is, as we learn from one of his letters to 
Madame de Boufflers, that he could not bear the 
idea of living in a town, that he feared the long 
journey, that his means were not sufficient to 
support him in England, and that he would not 
submit to increase them by accepting gratuities ; 
and above all, that he feared he should not be 
popular with the English people, because of an 
ill-natured remark which he had made about^them 
in Emile. The remark to which he refers is in a 
note in the second book — 

^ Correspondance, February 19, 1763; CEuvres Completes, vol. 
vii. p. 336. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 199 

" Je sais que les Anglois vantent beaucoup leur 
humanite et le bon naturel de leur nation, qu'ils 
appellent good natured people; mais ils ont beau 
crier cela tant qu'ils peuvent, personne ne le repete 
apres eux." ^ 

But perhaps his chief reason was one which 
both prudence and courtesy induced him to conceal. 
He neither understood the English nor cared for 
them.^ He says in his Confessions that when 
Madame de Verdelin urged him to write to Hume 
to reopen the arrangements for his reception in 
England— - 

" Comme je n'avois pas naturellement de 
penchant pour I'Angleterre, et que je ne voulois 
prendre ce parti qu'a I'extremite, je refusals 
d'ecrire et de promettre." ^ 

And this is no doubt the real explanation of the 
course he took. But what he would not urge 
himself, Madame de Boufflers, Madame de Verdelin, 
and Lord Keith had been urging for him. Accord- 
ingly, at Strasburg, he received another letter from 

^ CEuvres Completes, vol. i. p. 533. 

2 In the Confessions, Partie II. Livre XL, he says bluntly, " Je 
n'ai jamais aim^ I'Angleterre ni les Anglois." — CEuvres Complhes, 
vol. vi. p. 132. 

^ Cofifessions, Partie II. Livre XII., CEuvres Completes, vol. vi. 
p. 167. 



200 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

Hume, offering to escort him to London, and to 
make arrangements for establishing him there. 
Hume was at this time at the height of his reputa- 
tion, both socially and as a man of letters. He 
had just been Charge d' Affaires d'Angleterre, the 
idol of the ruelles and salons, and, as a philosopher 
and historian, the object of a homage so fulsome 
and extravagant that it astonished even himself. 
Rousseau was not insensible of the honour of having 
so distinguished a chaperon ; and so, after some 
coquetting, he consented, under the auspices of 
Hume, to confer on the King of England the honour 
which he had intended to confer on the King of 
Prussia. " Tout bien pese, je me determine a 
passer en Angleterre," he wrote to Peyrou. " Vos 
bontes, monsieur, me penetrent autant qu'elles 
m'honorent : la plus digne reponse que je puisse 
faire a vos offres est de les accepter, et je les 
accepte," he wrote to Hume ; ^ and the second week 
in December found him in Paris. A few hours 
after his arrival he was locked in the arms of Hume. 
His appearance in Paris was the signal for 
very remarkable demonstrations. The noblesse at 
the Court, ladies and gentlemen of fashion, men 
of letters, savants, and the mob in the streets, 

'^ Correspondance. To Hume, 4th December 1765; (Etwres 
Completes, vol. viii. p. 55. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 201 

vied with one another in attempting to get access 
to him. 

"It is impossible to express or imagine the 
enthusiasm of this nation in his favour," wrote 
Hume to Blair ; " as I am supposed to have him 
in my custody, all the world, especially the great 
ladies, tease me to be introduced to him ; Voltaire 
and everybody else are quite eclipsed by him." ^ 

The awkward thing was that the arret of the Parlia- 
ment had not been recalled, and, as he insisted on 
parading the gardens of the Luxembourg in his 
Armenian habit, and so attracting public attention 
to the fact that he was defying the law, the police 
warned him not to protract his visit ; otherwise 
neither the passport of the Prince de Conti nor 
the precincts of the Temple would prevent his 
arrest.^ He took the hint, and on the 4th ^ of 
January 1766 he quitted Paris with Hume and a 
Genevese friend, M. de Luze. At Calais they 
were detained by contrary winds, and it was not 
until the night of Saturday or Sunday, the nth 
or 12th of January, or it may have been a few 



^ Burton's Life of Hume, ii. 

2 Grimm's Correspondence, Part I. vol. v. p. 124. 

3 Ibid., and this date is borne out by his letters to Madame de 
Cr^qui and Madame Latour. 



202 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

hours earlier, that they were able to sail. In any 
case, they arrived in London on Monday, the isth.^ 
The passage from Calais to Dover, which took 
twelve hours, was anything but an agreeable one. 
The sea was running high ; the night was very 
dark, and the cold so intense that even the sailors 
were almost frozen to death. Hume went below, and 
suffered severely from sea-sickness ; but Rousseau 
courageously remained on deck, drenched with 
the spray and drizzle, and chilled to the bone with 
the cold. At last Dover was reached, and the 
friends disembarked. What ensued Rousseau has 
himself described. 

Transported by the thought that he had at last 
set foot on the land of liberty with so illustrious 
a man as his escort, he suddenly fell on the aston- 
ished Hume's neck, hugged him passionately in 
silence, and covered his face — " that broad un- 
meaning face," pea-green, no doubt, from recent 
affliction — with kisses and tears. This little scene 
over, they started for London. 

It was soon known that " the celebrated M. 
Rousseau," as the newspapers called him, had 
arrived. "All the world," said the London Maga- 
zine, " are eager to see this man, who by his singul- 

^ London Chronicle ; Ge^ttleman^s Magazine ; Rousseau's letter 
to Madame de Boufflers, i8th January 1766. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 203 

arity has drawn himself into much trouble " ; * 
and in a few days he became almost as much the 
rage in London as he had been in Paris. The 
Hereditary Prince, the King's brother-in-law, 
called on him incognito ; the Duke of York, it 
would seem, called on him and missed him. General 
Conway, then Secretary of State, and Lady Ayles- 
bury expressed eager desire to be introduced to 
him. Wilkes, who had just secretly come over 
from Pairis to bargain with the Ministry for the 
terms under which he would consent to be silent, 
much to Rousseau's annoyance, forced himself 
into his cabin. ^ Garrick not only gave a supper 
in his honour at his house in the Adelphi, where 
a distinguished company was invited to meet him, 
but paid him the compliment of playing two char- 
acters on purpose to oblige him^ — Lusignan, in 
Aaron Hill's Zaire, and the triple character of the 
poet. Frenchman, and drunken man, in Lethe} 
Rousseau's behaviour on this occasion was char- 
acteristic. Garrick had fixed Thursday, the 23rd 



1 London Magazine, ist January 1766. 

2 Horace Walpole to John Chute, Correspondence (edit. Cun- 
ningham), vol. iv. p. 458. 

^ Cradock's Literary and Miscellaneous Afemoirs, vol. i. pp. 
205-6. 

* Cradock says Lord Chalkstone, but this is evidently an error ; 
Cradock's account certainly refers to this occasion. 



204 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

of January, for the promised performance, and 
had reserved a box for him opposite to the box 
which the King and Queen, who were expecting 
to see him, would occupy. But when the time 
came to go to the theatre, Rousseau said that he 
had changed his mind and would stay at home. 
There was no one, he explained, to look after his 
dog, which, if the door happened to be opened, 
would run away in his absence. " Lock the door, 
then," said Hume, " and put the key in your 
pocket." This was accordingly done ; but as 
they were going downstairs the dog began to howl. 
Upon that Rousseau rushed back, and said that he 
had not the heart to leave him in such distress. 
Hume insisted that as the King and Queen were 
looking forward to seeing him, and Mrs. Garrick 
had dismissed another company to make room for 
him, it would be absurd to disappoint them for 
no other reason than the impatience of a dog. Still 
the humane or whimsical master was not persuaded, 
and Hume had the greatest difficulty in inducing 
him to keep his engagement. It is probable that 
courtesy towards Mr. and Mrs. Garrick had more 
weight with our eccentric guest than the gratification 
of royal curiosity. On arriving at the theatre they 
found it crowded to excess, for curiosity to see 
him was not confined to royalty. He was suffi- 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 205 

ciently conspicuous, as he wore his Armenian 
habit. He happened to enter his box at the very 
time the King and Queen entered theirs. During 
the whole performance it was observed that they 
took more notice of himx than of the actors ; but 
this perhaps was not so much a testimony of ad- 
miration as of surprise, for Rousseau appears to 
have behaved in a most extraordinary manner. 
He cried, he laughed, and became so wild with 
excitement that Mrs. Garrick was obliged to hold 
him by the skirts of his coat to prevent him falling 
out of the box into the pit. After the performance 
he went up to Garrick and said in French : ** I 
have cried all through your traged}^ and laughed 
through all your comedy, without being at all able 
to understand the language." ^ Of this scene 
and of the sensation Rousseau made in London 
we have a graphic account in a letter of Lady 
Sarah Bunbury to Lady Susan O'Brien, dated 
5th February 1766 — 

" By way of news Mr. Rousseau is all the talk : 
all I can hear of him is that he wears a pelisse and 
fur cap, that he was at the play and desired to 
be placed so that he might see the King, which, 
as Mrs. Greville says, is a pauvreU unworthy a 

^ Cradock's Memoirs, vol. i. pp. 205-6 ; London Chronicle for 
January 23-25. 



2o6 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

philosopher. His dressing particularly I think is very 
silly, and if, as the papers say, he told Garrick that 
he made him laugh and cry without understanding 
a word, this, in my humble opinion, was very silly 
too. . . . He sees few people, and is to go and live 
at a farm in Wales, where he shall see nothing but 
mountains and wild goats — mitre pauvrete.'' ^ 

Vanity is always contemptible and generally 
ridiculous ; it was reserved for Rousseau to make 
it grotesque and disgusting. 

IV 

And now Hume's troubles began, as Horace 
Walpole shrewdly anticipated they soon would. ^ 
He had made himself responsible for the subsistence 
and comforts of a man on whom the eyes of all 
Europe were turned, but who took a perverse 
pleasure not only in defeating every effort which 
could be made on his behalf, but in placing himself 
and his friends in ridiculous positions. His inordinate 
vanity, which amounted to monomania, found its 
chief gratification in affecting a superiority to all 
those distinctions which are commonly associated 
with reputation and fame, and in insulting the 
world with the contrast between his enormous 

^ Zi/e and Letters of Lady Sarah Lenfiox, vol. i. p. 167. 
2 To Lady Harvey, Correspondence (edit. Cunningham), vol. iv. 
P- 453- 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 207 

importance in all that constitutes real eminence, 
and the poverty and meanness in which he affected 
to live. That all London should be running after 
a philosopher who had lodgings in St. James's, 
and who lived as his friend Hume lived, would have 
afforded him no gratification, but that all London 
should be running after a recluse who occupied with 
a dog and a mistress two squalid rooms in a farmer's 
cottage at Chiswick — that was quite to his taste. 
Hume's first negotiation was with a market-gardener 
at Fulham, and Diogenes himself might have been 
satisfied with the accommodation offered. It was 
a wretched cabin with only a single room to let, 
containing two beds, one of which was occupied 
by a sick person.^ This was sufficiently pictur- 
esque, but this would hardly meet the case, as 
Therese was expected from Paris in a few days. 
Then Chiswick was tried, and in a farmhouse there 
the exile was for a while restlessly settled. Here 
he was joined by Therese, who had the honour of 
being escorted from Paris by Boswell, a circum- 
stance which Boswell very judiciously did not 
communicate to his friend Johnson. 

Of this woman and of the difficulties which her 
arrival occasioned Hume gives a lively account in 

1 Letter to Madame de Bouflflers, i8th January 1766, Corre- 
spondance, CEuvres Complies, vol. viii. p. 63. 



2o8 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

a letter to Madame de Boufflers, dated London, 
19th January 1766 — 

"This woman forms the chief encumbrance to 
his settlement. M. de Luze, our companion, says 
that she passes for wicked and tattling, and is 
thought to be the chief cause of his quitting Neu- 
ch§.tel. He himself owns her to be so dull that 
she never knows in what year of the Lord she is, 
nor in what month of the year, nor in what day of 
the month or week, and that she can never learn 
the difference of value of the pieces of money in 
any country. Yet she governs him absolutely 
as a nurse does a child. In her absence his dog 
has obtained that ascendant. His affection for that 
creature is above all expression or conception." ^ 

Rousseau's fidelity to this wretched woman is 
partly to be explained, as Mr. Morley suggests, 
by his cynical contempt for mere literary culture, 
social accomplishments, and social position ; partly 
by the fact that he found repose and amusement 
in her passive stupidity ; and partly by the senti- 
ment engendered by long association. To his 
vanity also this connection administered, for it 
was at once a proof of his social independence and 
of his indifference to social distinctions. But 
as with Swift so with him, the parvenu underlay 

1 Burton's Life of Hume, vol. ii. p. 305. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 209 

the cynic ; and he has himself recorded the " in- 
effable pleasure which the spectacle of Madame la 
Mareschale de Luxembourg publicly embracing 
Mademoiselle Therese le Vasseur " afforded him. 
At Chiswick, General Fitzpatrick, among others, 
called on him and found him in great distress at 
having lost his dog, which had strayed away. 
Hume, however, had managed to recover it, and 
entered the room with the dog just after Fitz- 
patrick arrived. Rousseau, in an ecstasy of delight, 
poured out his gratitude to Hume, and passionately 
embracing the dog, burst into tears over him.^ 

He gave poor Hume no rest. Chiswick, he said, 
was too near London, and he was pestered with 
callers and starers — which was not surprising, as 
the reviews and newspapers had been, and still 
were, full of gossip about him. The public curi- 
osity and the public sympathy had been greatly 
increased by four notices in the Monthly Review, 
the London Magazine, and the London Chronicle, 
giving elaborate accounts of the persecution to 
which he had been subjected.^ This naturally 
attracted the friends of liberty and toleration, then 
prominent through the Wilkite agitation, who 

1 Rogers' Table Talk (edit. Dyce), 106-7. 

2 For January (1766); for February; for i6th January and 
4th February, in which there is a sketch of his life. 

14 



210 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

honoured him as a hero and pitied him as a martyr 
in those sacred causes. Thus conspicuous, he 
made himself more so by going about in his 
Armenian dress, and so was followed by crowds.^ 
But the homage which flattered, fretted and em- 
barrassed him. He must get away ; he must have 
repose ; he hated cities and crowded streets. Hear- 
ing of an old monastery in Wales, he said he would 
go and settle there. Wales would remind him of 
Switzerland, and in Wales he was sure he could 
live and die in peace. This fell through. Then 
a Mr. Stanley offered him a residence in the Isle of 
Wight, but the Isle of Wight was windy, had bare 
hills, no trees, and people who would bore him. 
As soon as it was known, and Hume no doubt took 
care that it should be known, that he was in search 
of a residence, several gentlemen most generously 

^ In Hardy's Life of Lord Charlemont, vol. i. p. 230, there is an 
interesting passage throwing Hght on Rousseau's conduct and habits 
at this time. "When," said Charlemont, "Hume and Rousseau 
arrived from France, happening to meet with Hume in the Park, 
I wished him joy of his pleasing connection, and particularly hinted 
that I was convinced he must be perfectly happy in his new friend, 
as their sentiments were, I believed, nearly similar. ' Why no, man,' 
said he, ' you are mistaken. Rousseau is not what you think him ; 
he has a hankering after the Bible, and indeed is little better than a 
Christian in a way of his own.' Excess of vanity was the madness 
of Rousseau. When he first arrived in London he and his Armenian 
dress were followed by crowds, and as long as this species of admira- 
tion lasted, he was contented and happy." 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 211 

came forward and offered him apartments in their 
country houses. Among others a Mr. Townshend, 
a wealthy man, who was a great admirer of his 
writings, invited him to Uve in his house, and, 
to relieve him of any sense of obligation, offered to 
take any sum he pleased for his board. But Mr. 
Townshend was married, and as Rousseau made 
it a condition that his gouvernante, as Therese was 
now called, should occupy a seat at Mrs. Town- 
shend's dinner-table, the proposal fell through. 

At last a solution of the difficulty seemed at 
hand. He went down with Hume into Surrey, 
where he spent two days at the house of a Colonel 
Webb. He was delighted with the " natural and 
solitary beauties of the place," and thought and 
said that he could be happy there. Hume ac- 
cordingly negotiated with Colonel Webb for the 
purchase of the house, and a small estate adjoining. 
And here it was hoped that Rousseau would settle 
at last. But he suddenly changed his mind. 
Though the place was fifteen miles from town, 
it was not, he grumbled, sufficiently out of the 
world and out of the range of visitors ; so this fell 
through. And now he took it into his head that 
he would receive no letters. They had cost him 
from twenty-five to twenty-six louis d'or at Neu- 
chatel, and he would pay postage no more. Ac- 



212 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

cordingly the next time Hume, to whom his letters 
were directed, brought a cargo of them to Chiswick, 
he was told to send them back to the post-office. 
Hume explained that if they were taken back they 
would be opened and read, and that all his secrets 
would be known, which would neither be fair to him- 
self nor fair to his friends. He replied impatiently 
that he did not care. It is quite possible that Hume, 
seeing the inconvenience which would be likely to 
result from such folly, and thinking it better that he 
and not strangers should be acquainted with his 
friend's concerns, took on himself to sift the corre- 
spondence, and so gave a handle to the accusation 
which Rousseau afterwards brought against him. 

Hume had meanwhile been endeavouring to 
serve him in other ways. When they were detained 
at Calais he had asked him whether, if it were 
offered, he would accept a pension from the King. 
He replied he should be guided entirely by what 
his friend Lord Keith advised. Hume, having 
no doubt about what Lord Keith's opinion would 
be, immediately after his arrival in London applied 
to General Conway, then Secretary of State, and 
General Graeme, Secretary and Chamberlain to 
the Queen, and asked them to lay the matter 
before the King. Their application was successful, 
and it was arranged that Rousseau should have 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 213 

a pension of a hundred a year, on condition that 
the grant of it should not be pubhcly known. To 
this condition he acceded, but the matter remained 
in abeyance in consequence of the illness of General 
Conway. A grant without such a condition would 
have been more gratifying, no doubt ; that such a 
condition should have been imposed is not sur- 
prising. The favour with which Rousseau was 
regarded was by no means universal. The crowd 
who had not read the Nouvelle Helo'ise and the 
Contrat Social might run to stare at him ; leaders 
of fashion like Lady Aylesbury and Lady Kildare 
might cry to Hume, with gushing Mrs. Cockburn, 
" Oh, bring him with you ; the English are not 
worthy of him. Sweet old man, he shall sit 
beneath an oak and hear the Druids' songs ; bring 
dear old Rousseau." ^ But there were many, like 
Gray and Burke, ^ who would probably have felt 

^ Letters of Eminent Persons, p. 125. 

2 What Burke thought of him, he has himself very plainly 
stated. " We had the great professor and founder of the philosophy 
of vanity in England. As I had good opportunities of knowing 
his proceedings almost from day to day, he left no doubt on my 
mind that he entertained no principle, either to influence his heart 
or to guide his understanding, but vanity. With this vice he was 
possessed to a degree little short of madness." — " Letter to a 
Member of the National Assembly," Works {q.^\\.. Bohn), vol. ii. p. 536. 
Burke was well acquainted with Rousseau's writings long before he 
made Rousseau's acquaintance, and for what he thought of them, 
see Annual Register iox 1762, p. 227. 



214 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

that he never had a flash of truer intuition than 
when he said, in reference to his writings, " Je 
Grains toujours que je peche par le fond, et que 
tons mes systemes ne sont que des extravagances " ; 
and there were still more who would have echoed 
Johnson's sentiments, when he was asked by Bos- 
well whether he really thought Rousseau a bad 
man : " If you mean to be serious, I think him one 
of the worst of men, a rascal who ought to be hunted 
out of society, as he has been. Three or four 
nations have expelled him, and it is a shame he is 
protected in this country; " adding, '^ I would sooner 
sign a sentence for his transportation than that 
of any felon who has gone from the Old Bailey 
these many years." ^ But Johnson, so thought 
Rousseau's friends, was a bigot. Gray a recluse, 
and even Burke had his limitations. There is an 
interesting passage in Madame d'Arblay's Diary 
illustrating the impression which Rousseau made 
on his royal benefactor — 

" Mrs. Delany told several anecdotes, which had 
come to her immediate knowledge, of Rousseau 
while he was in England. . . . The King too told 
others which had come to his own ears, all charging 
him with savage pride and insolent ingratitude. 
. . . ' Some gratitude, sir,' said I, * he was not 

^ 'Qosw^itWs Johnson, edit. Croker, 1851, p. 175. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 215 

without. When my father was in Paris, which 
was after Rousseau had been in England, he visited 
him in his garret, and the first thing he showed him 
was your Majesty's portrait.' " ^ 

But to return. Among the friends to whom 
Hume had spoken about his difficulties in suiting 
the humours of Rousseau was a Mr. Davenport, a 
wealthy and accomplished country gentleman, who, 
in addition to other residences, had a house which 
he seldom occupied at Wooton, near Ashbourne, 
in the Peak of Derbyshire. It was sixteen miles 
from any town, and, surrounded by rocks and 
forests, stood by itself on the slope of a high hill 
looking down on a wild and picturesque glen, and 
commanding an almost unbounded landscape of 
mountain, meadow, and woodland scenery. A little 
above it is the village of Wooton, about half a mile 
below the village of Ellaston. It had scant attrac- 
tions except to lovers of nature and solitude ; for 
a few scattered farms, a small hamlet, and here 
and there at wide intervals a country house, were 
its only immediate links with human society. The 
climate during the greater part of the year was 
heavy and humid, the weather in the winter and 
early spring piercingly cold ; and though the 

^ Diary and Letters, vol. ii. p. 397. 



2i6 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

scenery was eminently picturesque and iniposing, 
it was somewhat sombre and austere. Rousseau 
was entranced with the description of the place 
— it was the very spot in which he desired to end 
his life.^ Mr. Davenport would willingly have 
placed the house at his disposal and boarded him 
also gratuitously, and such was his intention ; 
but Hume explained to him that such an offer 
would be regarded as an insult by his sensitive 
protege. Rousseau's income, derived partly from 
contracts with his booksellers and partly from a 
small annuity which he had been persuaded to 
accept from Lord Keith, the only friend whom 
he had so honoured, amounted to about £80 a 
year, and Hume suggested that out of this he should 
pay for himself and his gouvernante £30. To this 
proposal Mr. Davenport good-naturedly acceded ; so 
Rousseau and Therese left Chiswick for Wooton. 
But the evening before their departure a very 
remarkable scene was witnessed in Hume's 
lodgings in Lisle Street, including a repetition of 
the embarrassing demonstration on the beach at 
Dover. To explain this we must go back. 

Some six weeks before, Hume wrote to Blair : 

^ For an elaborate description of Wooton and the neighbour- 
hood, see Rousseau's letter to Madame de Luze, loth May 1766; 
CEuvres Computes, vol. viii. pp. 92, 93. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 217 

" The philosophers of Paris foretold to me that 
I could not conduct Rousseau to Calais without a 
quarrel ; but I think I could live with him all my 
life in mutual friendship and esteem." The philo- 
sophers of Paris had more discernment than he 
gave them credit for, as he was soon to see. One 
evening at Madame Geoff rin's, not long before 
Rousseau and Hume left Paris, Horace Walpole 
was joking about Rousseau's affectations and 
absurdities, and especially his boasts about his 
importance in the eyes of great people. What 
fun it would be, he suggested, to concoct a flatter- 
ing letter to him from the King of Prussia, inviting 
him to Potsdam. On his return home he set to 
Work and sketched the letter. Next day he showed 
it to Helvetius and the Due de Nivernois, who 
were so amused with it that, after revising some 
faults in the language, for it was in French, they 
persuaded Walpole to allow copies of it to be 
circulated privately among their friends.^ In a 
few days it was all over Paris. " The copies," 
wrote Horace Walpole to Conway, '' have spread 
like wildfire, et me void a la mode." ^ It was not a 

^ Letter to Hume, loth July 1766. As it is not very long it 
may be transcribed. It is printed in Burton's Life of Hume, vol. 
ii. p. 321 ; and in Horace Walpole's Correspondence (edit. Cunning- 
ham), vol. iv. p. 463, Walpole gives a full account of its concoction. 

2 Correspondence (edit. Cunningham), vol. iv. p. 463. 



2i8 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

very brilliant jeu d' esprit,^ but it made an extra- 
ordinary sensation, or, as Walpole put it, " an 
enormous noise in a city where they run and cackle 
after an event like a parcel of hens." The news 
of it soon spread to England, and in the British 
Chronicle for January 31, among the foreign news 
appears : "A letter is handed about Paris said to 
be written by the King of Prussia, but it is not 
well authenticated." Before this notice appeared, 
Hume told Rousseau of the letter, which seems at 
first to have made very little impression on him, 
as he supposed it was one of the fabrications of 
his old enemies at Geneva. At last he heard a 



^ " MoN CHER Jean Jacques, — Vous avez renonce a Geneve 
votre patrie. Vous vous etes fait chasser de la Suisse, pays tant 
vante dans vos ecrits ; la France vous a decr^t^ ; venez done chez 
moi. J'admire vos talent ; je m'amuse de vos reveries, qui (soit 
dit en passant) vous occupent trop et trop longtemps. II faut a 
la fin etre sage et heureux ; vous avez fait assez parler de vous^ par 
des singularites peu convenables h. un veritable grand homme : de- 
montrez a vos ennemis que vous pouvez avoir quelquefois le sens 
commun : cela les fachera, sans vous faire tort. Mes etats vous 
offrent une retraite paisible : je vous veux du bien, et je vous en 
ferai, si vous le trouvez bon. Mais si vous vous obstinez h rejetter 
mon secours, attendez-vous que je ne le dirai a personne. Si vous 
persistez k vous creuser I'esprit pour trouver de nouveaux malheurs, 
choisissez les tels que vous voudrez ; je suis roi, je puis vous en 
procurer au gre de vos souhaits ; et, ce qui surement ne vous arrivera 
pas vis-k-vis de vos ennemis, je cesserai de vous pers^cuter, quand 
vous cesserez de mettre votre gloire h I'etre. Votre bon ami, 

" Frederick." 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 219 

rumour that it was Walpole who had given cur- 
rency to it. Walpole, he knew, was a friend of 
Hume's. Upon that he asked Hume if the rumour 
was true ; but Hume parried the question, having 
unfortunately a moment before given him a letter 
authorising Walpole to bring some important papers 
belonging to Rousseau from Paris. This raised 
Rousseau's suspicions. Could Hume have been a 
party to the cruel hoax ; could he be in league 
with his persecutors ? He had already been sur- 
prised to find that a son of one of the bitterest of 
his enemies at Geneva, the physician Tronchin, 
was not only on the most intimate terms with 
Hume, but was actually lodging with him, a circum- 
stance which Hume had somewhat lamely ex- 
plained by saying that the son was not like the 
father. He then remembered that manv of his 
letters had been opened, that the newspapers had 
of late ceased to pay him compliments, and that 
he and Therese had been treated with marked 
coldness by one of the ladies in the house. He 
called to mind also a very extraordinary incident 
which had happened on the way from Paris to 
Calais. Hume and himself had occupied the same 
bedroom at an hotel. In the middle of the night 
he heard David crying out in his sleep, not once 
onty, but several times, and with a vehemence 



220 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

which was quite frightful : " Je tiens J.J. Rous- 
seau ! Je tiens J.J. Rousseau ! " He had endea- 
voured to interpret the words as favourably as 
possible, and to laugh off, next morning, the terror 
they had caused him ; but there could be little 
doubt what they meant — David had, in the English 
phrase, " got him," got him as a hunter gets his 
prey. All this was rankling in his mind when he 
had a last interview with Hume before setting 
out for Wooton. They had just finished supper. 
Therese had retired, and Hume and he were sitting 
in silence before the fire. During supper both 
Therese and himself had been perplexed and dis- 
tressed by the way in which their host had been 
fixing them alternately with his eyes, and by the 
*' diabolical expression " in them. And now that 
the friends were alone these stares were repeated. 
Rousseau tried to return them : it was impossible ; 
he quailed under them ; he nearly fainted. All 
his suspicions were corroborated ; but no — he 
looked again — if the glances were those of a devil, 
the features were those of an honest man. He 
was struck with remorse ; he despised himself. 
He rushed forward, threw himself on Hume's neck, 
hugged him in ecstasy, and with a face bathed in 
tears and a voice choked with sobs cried passion- 
ately : " Non, David Hume n'est pas un traitre, 




J 
J 



f- 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 221 

cela n'est pas possible ; et s'il n'etoit pas le meilleur 
des hommes, il faudroit qu'il en flat le plus noir." 
The scene must have been sufficiently embarrass- 
ing to Hume, but he remained perfectly calm, 
politely but coldly " returned the caresses," patted 
his hysterical friend several times on the back, 
exclaiming : " Mon cher monsieur ! Quoi done, 
mon cher monsieur ? " and without further com- 
ment retired to bed.^ 

Rousseau, with Therese, arrived at Wooton in 
the third week of March, but in a bad temper and 
with another grievance. Mr. Davenport, wishing 
to save him the expense of the journey, or rather 
to reduce it to a trifle, had, with delicate kindness, 
resorted to a little stratagem. He had chartered 
a return chaise, pretending that it was a public 
conveyance which happened by good fortune to 
be starting at the very time Rousseau was to leave 
London, which was on the 19th of March, and, to 
disguise his charity the more effectually, had even 
gone so far as to have an advertisement inserted 
in a newspaper announcing its departure. But by 

^ Of this absurd scene Rousseau has given four full accounts — 
in a letter to Madame de Boufflers, in one to Malesherbes, in the 
long one to Hume, and in his Recit des Particularites de la Vie de 
J. J. Rousseau. See too Hume's Succinct Account, but in a letter 
to Dr. Blair, Hume attributes Rousseau's conduct simply to his 
annoyance about the post-chaise. 



222 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

some means Rousseau's suspicions were aroused. 
He challenged Hume on the subject, and accused 
him of conniving with Mr. Davenport in insulting 
him. He was not a beggar, he would live on no 
man's alms ; nothing, he said, could have given 
him greater offence.^ 

Shortly after his arrival at Wooton he wrote to 
Hume two most friendly letters, calling him his 
dear patron, and expressing his gratitude for all 
he had done for him.^ But the suspicions which 
he had entertained of him had not been disabused, 
and in a letter to D'lvernois, dated only two 
days after his second letter to Hume, he speaks 
of Hume's intimacy with Tronchin's son, of his 
being " tres lie encore a Paris avec mes plus danger- 
eux ennemis," of the fact that the newspapers 
had ceased to speak favourably of him, and that 
his letters had been suppressed and opened ; he 
shows, in fact, that all his old grievances, real or 
imagined, against Hume were still rankling. A 
week after his arrival at Wooton, he wrote to Mr. 
Davenport earnestly requesting that he would take 
care that his letters should not pass through any 
other hands than his own, or those of his servants, 
asking him to keep this request secret, and adding 

1 Letter to Peyrou, 4th October 1766, 

2 March 22 and March 29 ; CEuvres Completes, vol. viii. pp. 76, 77. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 223 

that " some day when we know each other better 
I will tell you more about this." ^ 

And now an event occurred which brought 
matters to a climax. On the 3rd of April the forged 
letter was printed both in French and English in 
the St. James's Chronicle, and two days afterwards 
it appeared in translation in the British Chronicle 
and in the London Chronicle. Rousseau was furious. 
He wrote off at once to the editor of the St. James's 
Chronicle, complaining of the insult done to the 
King of Prussia as well as to himself, pointing 
out that its insertion with Frederick's name at- 
tached to it was connivance with forgery, and 
apprising the editor that it had been fabricated 
in Paris ; and he added : " Ce qui navre et dechire 
mon cceur, I'imposteur a des complices en Angle- 
terre." ^ Rousseau's letter, with an editorial note 
prefixed, appeared on the loth — 

" The imposture was a very innocent one, and 
we do not imagine that many readers were deceived 
by it ; we are told that it was a jeu d' esprit by an 
English gentleman now at Paris, well known in the 
catalogue of noble authors." 

In the same paper appeared a letter to Rousseau, 

^ Lettres Inedites, par Streckeisen-Moultou, p. 457. 
2 Corresfiondance, CEuvres Completes, vol. viii. p. 85. 



224 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

purporting to be written by a Quaker, signing 
himself " Q. A."— 

" Ne t'effarouche pas une bagatelle ; tu es 
ici dans un pays de liberte ; la liberte a ses incon- 
venients, comme vous voyez ; elle s'emancipe 
par fois avec des caracteres plus respectables que 
la tienne ; . . . ainsi tes termes de ' navre ' et 
' dechire * sont un peu trop forts." 

In the impression for the 3rd of May he found a 
defender — 

" Let me recommend," says the writer, " my 
brother scribblers to be content with teasing one 
another. The Philosopher is too much above us ; 
let us leave him unmolested in his Derbyshire 
retreat. It may perhaps produce something which 
will reflect honour on the country he lives in, and 
to have adopted a Rousseau will be some excuse 
to posterity for our own dearth of literary 
merit." ^ 



Rousseau was now certain that his suspicions 
about Hume were correct. Hume was the ally of 
Walpole, who had circulated the letter ; of D'Alem- 

1 See the numbers of the S/. Jameses Chronicle under above 
dates. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 225 

bert, who had written it ; ^ of the newspaper editors 
who had given currency and prominence to it. To 
Madame de Boufflers, to his cousin F. H. Rousseau, 
to Peyrou, to Malesherbes, and to other corre- 
spondents he pours out his grievances about his 
perfidious friend.^ He regarded Walpole, he said, 
as the secret agent of three or four men who had 
formed a plot against him, a plot which he could 
not comprehend, — " mais dont je vois et sens I'exe- 
cution successive de jour en jour." These men 
were Hume, D'Alembert, Voltaire, and Tronchin. 
At this time, too, another insertion in the English 
newspapers, for which he considered Hume respons- 
ible,^ added greatly to his irritation. Ever since 
the controversy about the theatrical performances 
at Geneva, Voltaire had pursued him with un- 
relenting hostility. La Guerre Civile de Genhe 
and VIngenu, indeed, were still to come, and Vol- 
taire's authorship of Les Sentiments des Citoyens 

1 "J'y reconnois a I'instant le style de M. d'Alembert . . . 
mon ennemi d'autant plus dangereux qu'il a soin de cacher sa 
haine." Letter to Malesherbes, loth May 1766. He had not seen 
the notice in thc^.S/. James's Chronicle apparently, or perhaps he did 
not understand the allusion to the Catalogue of Royal and Noble 
Authors. He afterwards said in his letter to Hume that it mattered 
little whether it was d'Alembert's composition or that of his prete- 
nom Walpole. 

2 See his correspondence between 9th April and 22nd May, 
compared with his letter to Hume dated loth July. 

2 Letter to Hume, loth July 1766. 
15 



226 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

Rousseau never seems to have suspected ; but in 
1 761 appeared, under the name of the Marquis de 
Ximenes, the Lettres sur La Nouvelle Helo'ise, and 
in 1766 the cruel and rancorous Lettre au Docteur 
Pansophe} Almost as soon as this letter was 
published the severest passages in it were trans- 
lated, and according to Rousseau aggravated in 
the translation, and printed in Lloyd's Evening 
News. About the same time (12th April) the 
London Chronicle printed a translation of a very 
severe letter of Voltaire to him, occasioned by a 
protest made against Rousseau's excommunication 
by the Council of Geneva, on the ground that the 
partisans of Voltaire and D'Alembert had unfairly 
influenced the Council. Next appeared two mali- 
cious notices, one attributing his favourable recep- 
tion at Paris to the respect felt for Hume, and 
describing him as the son of a musician, which 
appears to have particularly annoyed him ; and the 

^ The authorship of this Voltaire repeatedly denied, but Decroix, 
the collaborator of Condorcet, had no doubt that Voltaire wrote it, 
and Beuchot did not scruple to insert it in his edition of Voltaire's 
works. Internal evidence surely proves conclusively that, if 
Voltaire did not write the whole, he had at least a hand in it ; his 
own denial, it is needless to say, goes for nothing. In a letter, 
dated November 1766, he has the impudence to say : "II pretend 
que je lui ai ^crit, etc. — moi, qui ne lui ai pas ^crit depuis environ 
neuf ans " ; and this after the Sentiments and the Lettres sur La 
Nouvelle Helo'ise ! " 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 227 

other taunting him with " opening his door to the 
rich and closing it to the poor," and with " coldness 
to his relations." Both of these libels, for so he 
described them, he attributed confidently to Hume.^ 
It will thus be seen that if Rousseau was wrong in 
supposing that Hume had had any hand in these 
publications, he was perfectly right when he spoke 
of the changed attitude of the Press towards him. 
The newspapers and magazines, it is needless to 
say, had filled their columns with all this, not 
because there was any prejudice against him, for 
journalists, like politicians, seldom either love or 
hate, but simply because, as gossip was busy with 
his name, copy retailing or adding to such gossip 
was acceptable. 

Meanwhile Hume, quite unconscious of what 
was fermenting at Wooton, had been urging on the 
pension, when General Conway put into his hands 
a letter which he had received from Rousseau. 
This letter is not extant, and we only know 
its purport by a letter from Hume to Rousseau, 
dated 17th May, and printed by Streckeisen- 
Moultou, telling Rousseau how greatly both he 



^ These pieces Hume had never even read ; see the Succinct 
Account. They were written by Gibbon's friend, Deyverdun, as 
he afterwards acknowledged to Hume, begging him to publish the 
fact. — Hume's Private Correspondence, p. 230. 



228 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

himself and General Conway had been con- 
cerned at his refusal of the pension. To Hume 
Rousseau made no reply, but he wrote to General 
Conway. He was deeply touched, he said, with the 
favours with which it had pleased his Majesty to 
honour him, and with the kind services of Conway. 
He would not refuse the pension. So far from 
rejecting the benefits of the King through the pride 
which had been imputed to him, his pride would be 
in pluming himself on them ; and the only thing 
that pained him was that he could not honour 
himself as much in the eyes of the world as he 
could do in his own. Let those honours be deferred 
— deferred for happier times — and it would then 
be seen that he had only deferred availing himself 
of them that he might endeavour to make himself 
worthier of their reception. This was very natur- 
ally interpreted as meaning that he would not 
accept the pension unless it was made public. 
Conway was unwilling to approach the King again 
on the subject ; Hume, however, persuaded him to 
give way, and got the Duke of Richmond also to exert 
his influence. But there was one thing which they 
could not do, and that was to submit the King to 
the indignity of a second refusal. Accordingly, 
although he had received no answer to his former 
letter, Hume wrote again to Rousseau, telling him 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 229 

what he had done, and asking him to say positively 
whether he would accept the pension if it were 
publicly granted him. Then the storm burst. 
A week after came the answer : "I believed that 
my silence, interpreted by your conscience, would 
have said enough^but as you will not listen to it 
I will speak. I know you, and you do not know 
it." He then went on to say that he had told him 
before that if he was not the best of men he was 
the worst, that he would have no further inter- 
course with him, and would accept nothing of 
which he was the instrument. He concluded by 
bidding adieu to him for ever.^ Hume was as 
indignant as he was astounded. He replied at 
once, with a passionate vehemence very unusual 
with him, and, perhaps without precedent in his 
life, demanding an explanation : " You owe this 
to me ; you owe it to truth and honour and jus- 
tice, and to everything deemed sacred among men. 
Tell me what has given you offence ; tell me of 
what I am accused. Tell me the man who accuses 
me." And Rousseau told him. What he told 
him has been already related. The key to the 
letter is afforded by a naive admission at the 
beginning : " I know only what I feel " C* Je ne 

1 See the long letter to Hume dated loth July 1766. CEuvres 
Cotnpletes, vol. viii. pp. 111-127. 



230 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

sais que ce que je sens"). Locke has remarked 
that the difference between the reasoning of a 
madman and that of a fool is that a fool reasons 
incorrectly on correct premises, and that a mad- 
man reasons correctly on absurd premises. This 
is just what Rousseau does here. A diseased 
imagination furnishes him with his data, but his 
logic is flawless, his conclusion inevitable. We 
know as a matter of fact that Hume, so far from 
having any part in the concoction of the forged 
letter, knew nothing about it till it was in circula- 
tion ; that, so far from being responsible for the 
so-called libels in the English press, he never at 
an}/ time wrote or connived at a line which could 
wound Rousseau's feelings, much less cast discredit 
on him. We know that he was not in league with 
Rousseau's enemies ; that with Voltaire and Dr. 
Tronchin he had no relations at all, while his inti- 
macy with Walpole and D'Alembert was without 
any reference to Rousseau ; that if he did not 
suppress the " libels " on his friend, it was because 
he could not ; and that if he did not explain his 
conduct to Rousseau, it was because he was unaware 
that there was anything to explain. On the other 
hand, it is due to Rousseau to say that there is no 
reason for supposing that in acting as he did he 
did not act in perfectly good faith. There can be 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 231 

little doubt that he was convinced of the truth of 
what he alleged ; there can be as little doubt that 
he had no unworthy motive for his conduct. 
Madame de Bouffiers said of him with perfect 
justice : " Ne croyez pas qu'il soit capable d' arti- 
fice, ni de mensonge, qu'il soit un imposteur ni un 
scelerat. Sa colere n'est pas fondee, mais elle est 
reelle." ^ 

When we consider the effect of the course he 
took, the monstrous injustice done to his bene- 
factor, the criminal ingratitude devolving on him- 
self, it is really provoking to find in his narrative 
all the indications of conscientious truthfulness. 
There is not, it is true, an incident which he does 
not misread and pervert, but there is not an inci- 
dent which is not, in detail, accurately stated : his 
facts may be practically fictions, but his fictions are 
substantial!}^ facts. He never resorts to falsehood 
or even to deliberate sophistry. Every line of the 
letter has the impress of sincerity, but it is the 
sincerity, the terrible sincerity, of monomania. 

Hume knew perfectly well that the letter was 
intended for publication, and would be all over 
Europe in a few weeks. He might be forgiven for 
being indignant and excused for being perplexed, 
and his correspondence at this time shows that he 

^ Letters of Eminent Persons, p. 241. 



232 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

was both. He wrote a very weak letter to Rous- 
seau, complaining that Rousseau had misrepre- 
sented the " tender scene " between them on the 
night before the departure for Wooton, explained 
that the alleged diabolical expression in his eyes 
had simply arisen from a fixed look or stare which 
was usual with him when absent in thought, denied 
that the scene between them had reference to 
anything else than the post-chaise grievance, and 
declining to enter into any further details, concluded 
with reminding his former friend of the services he 
had done him in endeavouring to procure him a 
pension, and with bidding adieu to him for ever/ 
But in a letter to Dr. Blair his wrath flamed out, 
and we find him describing his ungrateful protege 
as " the blackest and most atrocious villain that 
now exists in the world," adding that he was 
heartily ashamed of everything that he had ever 
written in his favour. 

For the next few weeks both he and Rousseau 
relieved their feelings by giving their version of the 
affair to their common friends, but it soon became 
public property. A notice of the quarrel appeared 
early in August in the Brussels Gazette, and this 
was copied with further particulars into the English 
papers and magazines. At first no one could make 

^ Printed in Burton's Life of Htime, vol. ii, 341-2. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 233 

head or tail of the affair, and sheer perplexity held 
opinion in suspense. But it was not long before 
very decided views began to be taken, and parties 
to form themselves. In London and Paris nothing 
else was talked about, and Hume scarcely exag- 
gerated when he said that if the King of England 
had declared war against the King of France it 
could not have been more suddenly the subject of 
conversation. " La rupture de M. Hume et de 
Jean Jacques a fait un bruit terrible ici," wrote 
Madame Riccoboni to Garrick. Hume had threat- 
ened, and now determined, to publish a full account 
of the whole matter. But his friends strongly 
dissuaded him from doing so. Lord Keith and 
Madame de Boufflers out of consideration for 
Rousseau, as well as for himself, Horace Walpole 
to prevent ridicule, Adam Smith from prudential 
motives, which he well explained : — 

" To write against him is," he said, " you may 
depend upon it, the very thing he wishes you to 
do. He is in danger of falling into obscurity in 
England, and he hopes to make himself consider- 
able by provoking an illustrious adversary. He 
will have a great party ; the Church, the Whigs, 
the Jacobites, the whole wise English nation, who 
will love to mortify a Scotchman, and to applaud 
a man who has refused a pension from the King. 



234 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

It is not unlikely, too, that they may pay him 
very well for having refused it, and that he may 
have had in view this compensation." ^ 

Adam Smith was then in Paris, and the advice 
he gave was the advice of most of Hume's French 
friends, the Baron d'Holbach, Turgot, Madame 
Riccoboni, Mademoiselle Riancour, and many 
others. But by the end of July opinions changed. 
At a general meeting of Hume's literary friends in 
Paris, convened by D'Alembert, it was the unani- 
mous opinion that he ought to justify himself by 
publishing a full narrative. 

" I find," wrote Baron d'Holbach, " that most 
of those who are interested in you are of opinion 
that you cannot dispense with a vindication ; it 
has become necessary, because of the great 
number of partisans, of fanatical partisans, which 
Rousseau has throughout all Europe, and especi- 
ally here ; even now they are making capital 
out of your silence, and saying that it is strange 
that accusations so grave as you bring against 
Rousseau should be brought against anyone with- 
out proof. And so I am obliged to depart from 
my pacific counsels.' 



" 2 



1 Printed in Burton's Life of Hume, vol. ii. 341-2. Letter 
dated 7th Oct. 1766. 

2 Letters of Eminent Persons, p. 261. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 235 

The truth is that Rousseau, the tone of whose 
correspondence on this subject was that of 'the 
very subHmity of outraged innocence, had been 
writing in all directions to the effect that Hume 
dared not publish the indictment against him, and 
the proofs on which it was based. But what had 
perhaps the most weight in inducing Hume to 
take the step he did was Rousseau's threatened 
appeal to posterity. It was known that he was 
writing his Confessions, and that it was his inten- 
tion to tell the story which Hume had not the 
courage and honesty to tell. Hume naturally 
shrank from allowing his reputation to be at the 
mercy of the most plausible and most eloquent 
madman who ever lived. If it was to be gibbeted, 
it should at least be gibbeted to the disgrace of 
the gibbeter. But he held back to the very last. 
Finally the documents were collected and for- 
warded to Paris, and their publication was left to 
the discretion of his friends. After some hesitation 
they were placed in the hands of M. Suard, the 
author of the Melanges de Litterature, who, with 
the assistance of D'Alembert, arranged, edited, 
and translated them where necessary into French, 
publishing them in the form of a pamphlet. So 
out came an Expose Succinct de la Contestation 
qui s'est elevee entre M. Hume et M. Rousseau, avec 



236 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

les pieces justificatives. This was in October/ 
Early in November appeared an English transla- 
tion, superintended by Hume himself, A Concise 
and Genuine Account of the Disptite between Mr. 
Hume and M. Rousseau, translated from the French, 
with the Letters that passed between them during 
their Controversy. No one who reads the Account 
can doubt that Hume acted wisely in taking this 
step, though he afterwards regretted it. The tone 
is perhaps a little too acrimonious, but as nothing 
is asserted without documentary proof, and testi- 
mony the truth of which is self-evident, and as 
Rousseau's monstrous assumptions and deductions, 
and Hume's entire innocence of what had been 
imputed to him, come out as clear as fire in dark- 
ness, acrimony is, we feel, considering what was 
involved, perfectly excusable. Hume never for- 
gets that he is a gentleman. He lays no undue 
stress on his unwearied and immense kindness 
to Rousseau, on his patience and forbearance under 
most trying provocation, or on the many services 
he had done him. He always expresses himself 
with measure and propriety. With the purely 
impartial reader the prevailing sentiment towards 
Rousseau will be rather pity than indignation, the 

1 For all this, see Letters of Eminent Persons^ pp. 186-188 and 
202 seqq. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 237 

narrative showing so unmistakably that it is 
recording the conduct of a man in frenzy. 

PubUc curiosity was so great, that there was 
scarcely an important newspaper or magazine 
which did not publish the Account in instalments. 
Thus for two days, the 15th and 17th of November, 
it occupied four columns in the St. James's 
Chronicle, nearly the whole paper. The greater 
part of it was printed also in the London Chronicle 
between the 15th and 25th November. Next it 
appeared in the London Magazine, the Gentle- 
man's Magazine, and the Monthly Review. In- 
gratitude is perhaps the only vice which has never 
found an apologist, and sympathy with Hume as 
well as indignation against Rousseau were all 
but universal. In Paris and London there were 
scarcely two opinions. " You can't conceive," 
wrote Robert Wood,^ " how much you are put 
in the right and Rousseau in the wrong by every 
creature here." The general opinion was that Rous- 
seau was mad, or, as Madame Riccoboni bluntly 
put it, " Rousseau est fou ; le succes de ses oeuvres a 
derange sa tgte." Such also was the opinion of 
Mademoiselle de I'Espinasse.'^ Hume was over- 
whelmed with letters of condolence and con- 

1 Letters of Eminent Persons, p. 264. 

2 Ibid. p. 208. 



238 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

gratulation, and among them one from Ferney, 
in which Voltaire took the opportunity of giving 
his own sentiments on ** le plus mechant coquin 
qui ait jamais deshonore la litterature." ^ Hume's 
pamphlet led to the pubhcation of another by 
Horace Walpole. But " A Narrative of what passed 
relative to the Quarrel of Mr. David Hume and J. J. 
Rousseau, as far as Mr. Horace Walpole was con- 
cerned in it," beyond heaping further abuse on 
Rousseau, and illustrating Walpole' s horror of 
being mixed up with men of letters, is of httle 
interest. If Rousseau's conduct was generally 
reprobated, he was not without supporters. His 
compatriot Fuseli rushed into the arena with 
a wild and ill-written pamphlet, defending him 
against what he describes as the aspersions of Mr. 
Hume and Monsieur Voltaire,^ and a clergyman 
of the Estabhshed Church, a man of some dis- 
tinction in liberal circles. Dr. Ralph Heathcote, 
appeared also, though with some reserve, as his 
apologist.'^ In France the pamphlets eHcited by 

1 See the letter to Hume, 24th October 1766, and the letter to 
Darnaville, dated 3rd November 1766. 

2 A Defence of M. Rousseau against the aspersiofts of Mr. Htwie, 
Monsieur Voltaire, and their Associates, long extracts from which 
appeared daring November, both in the St.Ja??ies's Chronicle and in 
the London Chronicle. See, too, Knowles, Life of Fuseli, vol. i. 44-5. 

3 " A Letter to the Honourable Horace Walpole concerning the 
Dispute between Mr. Hume and M. Rousseau." 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 239 

the controversy were very numerous, not merely 
because of the interest taken in Rousseau per- 
sonally, but because of the different questions 
and issues involved in his disgrace or vindica- 
tion. ^ Nor was he without supporters in the 
popular press. A letter in the St. James's 
Chronicle for the 27th November, signed " An 
Orthodox Hospitable Old Englishman," speaks 
very severely of Horace Walpole's conduct, con- 
cluding with — 

" M. Rousseau is a persecuted and an un- 
fortunate stranger. I neither know him nor 
Hume, nor Horace Walpole, but humanity obliges 
me to wish that poor Rousseau may not be made 
uneasy here, but left in as much peace as possible." 

Two other correspondents in December also take 
up the cudgels for Rousseau. One says he was 
much concerned to consider Rousseau's condition ; 
the unhappy philosopher had come into this 
country to avoid the malevolence he had met 
with in his own, only to meet with abuse 
and reproaches, and abuse and reproaches which 
he (the writer) must take leave to say were not 

^ The most powerful pamphlet on his side was, Precis pour M. 
Jean Jacques Rousseau^ en reponse a V Expose Succinct de M. Hume. 
It was anonymous. 



240 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

worthy of English gentlemen.^ In the Poet's 
Corner of the same paper ^ a contributor breaks 
out into the following exhortation : 

" Rousseau, be firm ! though malice, like Voltaire, 
And superstitious pride, like D'Alembert, 
Though mad presumption Walpole's form assume. 
And base-born treachery appear like Hume, 
Yet droop not thou; these spectres gathering round, 
These night-drawn phantoms, want the power to wound. 
Fair truth shall chase th' unreal forms away, 
And reason's piercing beams restore the day; 
Britain shall snatch the exile to her breast, 
And conscious virtue soothe his soul to rest." 

In the following number, however, appears 
a parody of these lines, reversing their sense and 
converting them into a satire on their subject. 
The press, speaking generally, was, as might be 
supposed, anything but favourable to him ; and 
another correspondent in the same paper, who has, 
however, as little sympathy with Hume as with 
Rousseau, observes that there was nothing surpris- 
ing in their quarrel, for they were both " deists 
and infidels," and what but feuds between such 
heretics could be expected ? Nor were the wits 
silent. A ludicrous travesty of the indictment 
against Hume went the round of some of the 

1 See the letters, S/. James's Chronicle^ nth and 13th 
December. 

2 nth December. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 241 

periodicals. A facetious artist depicted Rousseau 
as a Yahoo newly caught in the woods, and Hume 
caressing and offering him some oats, which he 
angrily refuses, while Voltaire and D'Alembert 
are whipping him up behind, and Horace Walpole 
making him horns of papier mdche. A very 
sensible correspondent in the London Chronicle 
lamenting that there should be such dissensions 
between men who might with more propriety be 
advancing each other's interests and reputation, 
recommends, he says, to their serious consideration 
a remark of their witty friend the Abbe Troublet — 

" Je me trouvai un jour dans une compagnie 
assez nombreuse, ou etaient deux esprits et deux 
hommes tres riches. Je dis aux premiers qui 
s'attaquaient Fun 1' autre : ' Voyez un peu comme 
les deux messieurs menagent, se flattent, se re- 
spectent, bel exemple a suivre ; ils ne donnent 
point de scenes aux gueux ; n'en donnez point 
aux sots.' " ^ 

Meanwhile Rousseau's name was being brought 
prominently before the public in another capacity. 
His Devin de Village was translated and produced 
at Drury Lane Theatre on the 21st of November, 
and appears from the notices in the newspapers 
to have been very well received. 

^ London Chronicle, Deceoiber. 
16 



242 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 



V 



But it is time to return to Rousseau at Wooton. 
He made no reply whatever to Hume's pamphlet, 
but he kept circulating industriously his version 
of the affair, in letters to Lord Keith, to Guy the 
bookseller, to Ray, to Peyrou, to Madame de 
Boufflers, to D'lvernois, to all in fact who he thought 
would give currency to what he wrote, in London, 
Paris, Berlin, and Geneva. The burden of these 
letters, both before the appearance of Hume's 
pamphlet and afterwards, is the same. The sole 
course open to him is to possess his soul in patience, 
to endure, to submit. The league which had been 
formed against him was too powerful, too skilful, 
too zealous, had too much credit with the public, 
for one who had nothing else to rely on but truth, to 
resist. To cut off the heads of that hydra would only 
be to multiply them. The refutation of one of their 
calumnies would only be followed by the appearance 
of twenty others crueller still. Let Hume triumph 
in his infamy, let him bruit abroad what slanders 
he pleases ; "he has filled England, France, the 
newspapers, all Europe, with cries for which I have 
no response, and with calumnies of which I should 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 243 

deem myself worthy if I deigned to repel them." 
The one consolation to him is that Hume had at 
last been unmasked, and that what had long been 
muffled in darkness had come into the light of 
day. When Hume's Account and the anonymous 
reply to it from Paris — the " Precis pour M. Jean 
Jacques Rousseau " — were sent to him^ he expressed 
the utmost indifference — 



(( 



I admire," he wrote, " the courage of the 
author of that work, and above all their allowing 
it to be circulated in London. For the rest they 
can do and say in my favour just what they please ; 
for myself I have nothing to say to Mr. Hume, 
except that I find him too insulting for a good 
man, and too passionate for a philosopher." ^ 

At Wooton he could enjoy to his heart's content 
the solitude which he so much affected. As neither 
he nor Therese could speak or understand any 
English, they could hold no communication except 
through signs transacted chiefly by Therese ^ with 

1 Letter to M. Laliaud, November 15, 1766, CEuvres 
Cotnplctes, vol. viii. p. 157 ; and for all the other particulars see his 
correspondence passim during the summer and autumn of this 
year. 

2 In a letter to Hume, dated 29th March 1796, he thus expresses 
himself: — "J'en trouve un plus grand a ne pouvoir me faire bien 
entendre des domestiques, ni surtout entendre un mot de ce qu'ils 
disent. Heureusement Mile, le Vasseur me sert d'interprete, et 
ses doigts parlent mieux que ma langue." — CEuvres Completes, vol. 
viii. p. 77. 



244 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

the housekeeper or with the servants ; and this, 
he said — very ungratefully, for he acknowledges 
at first that their courteous attentions were so 
studious as to be almost oppressive — afforded him 
the greatest satisfaction. " Could I learn English," 
he said, " I would only speak French, especially if 
I had the happiness to know that they did not 
understand a word of it." But this had its incon- 
veniences, and a misunderstanding between Therese 
and the venerable housekeeper about a kettle and 
some cinders might have led to serious consequences. 
Shortly after his arrival the clergyman of the place 
called on him, but as he would only speak in French 
and the clergyman would only speak English, the 
interview began and ended almost without the 
exchange of a word. At a second interview they 
got on better, and the reverend gentleman, it 
appears, took a great fancy to him. His only 
amusement was botanising and indulging in soli- 
tary rambles in the woods and among the rocks. 
" J'ai repris," he writes, " mes promenades soli- 
taires, mais au lieu d'y r^ver j'herborise, c'est une 
distraction dont je sens le besoin." ^ But he was not 
happy ; his nights, he said, were cruel ; he could 
not sleep : his body suffered even more than his 

^ To M. de Malesherbes, Correspondatice, CEuvres Completes, vol. 
viii. p. loi. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 245 

heart, and melancholy thoughts were his constant 
companions. In April, Lord Strafford invited him 
to his seat in Yorkshire ; but fifteen leagues, he 
replied, were too far for a pedestrian who was 
hard upon sixty years of age, and a carriage was 
not to his taste. As the year wore on he became, 
if not more contented, more sociable. Mr. Bernard 
Granville, who had a beautiful country seat some few 
miles off at Calwich, made his acquaintance, and a 
very pleasant intimacy ensued. At Calwich, Rous- 
seau stayed some days, and was introduced to the 
Duchess of Portland, who joined him on a botanical 
excursion on the Peak, and to whom he wrote a 
beautiful letter on the charms of botany.^ He was 
also introduced to the ' fascinating ' Miss Dewes, 
who insisted on becoming his physician. Mrs. 
Delany, Mr. Granville's sister, became quite alarmed 
when she perceived the favourable impression 
which Rousseau was making on her circle, and 
more especially when she heard that Lady Kildare, 
the daughter of the Duke of Richmond, had said 
that she would " offer Rousseau an elegant retreat 
if he would educate her children." But for all 
that she did not scruple to hold out " The Rous- 
seau," as she called him, as one of the inducements 
to tempt Lady Andover to visit Calwich. Among 

^ Correspondance^ (Euvres Completes, vol. viii. p. 145-6. 



246 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

others who sought his acquaintance was Erasmus 
Darwin the poet-botanist, who by a stratagem 
secured an interview with him. Knowing Rous- 
seau's dishke to strangers, he stationed himself on 
a terrace where he knew the great man would pass, 
and affected to be examining a plant. " Are you a 
botanist ? " he suddenly asked, as Rousseau came up. 
Rousseau, interested and off his guard, entered at 
once into conversation with him, and Darwin 
flattered himself that this would be the beginning 
of an acquaintanceship he so much desired. But 
the morbid solitary on reflection suspected the 
trick which had been played on him, and at once 
retired into himself, and Darwin could never again 
get access to him.^ 

He was now engaged in writing his Confessions. 
At what time he began them we have no means 
of knowing ; his earliest reference to them is in 
a letter to Peyrou, dated 21st June of this year 
(1766), and he tells Lord Keith in July that they 
were his amusement on rainy days. " L'occu- 
pation," he writes to Keith, " pour les jours 
de pluie, frequens en ce pays, est d'ecrire ma 
vie : non ma vie exterieure comme les autres, mais 
ma vie reelle, celle de mon ame, I'histoire de mes 

1 History and Topography of Ashbour7ie, p. 248 ; and Howitt's 
Visits to Remarkable Places, p. 513. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 247 

sentiments les plus secrets." ^ So passed the 
summer and autumn ; and if the sufferings which 
his enemies, or rather his own diseased mind, 
inflicted on him were, as they no doubt were, 
severe, he had apparently much to solace him. 

Traditions of Rousseau long lingered at Wooton. 
Asjlate as 1840, William Howitt found two of the 
villagers who perfectly remembered him and 
Therese, under names curiously perverted into 
Ross Hall and Madam Zell, or, as I have since 
been told, " Miss Mainselle," evidently a corrup- 
tion of the French Mademoiselle. One, a very old 
lady, told how she and her brother used to meet 
him, on their way to school, poring on the park 
wall for mosses, or prying in some lonely nook for 
plants, clad in a long gown and belt, on his head a 
black velvet cap with gold tassels and a pendent 
top, and how frightened they used to be at the 
outlandish figure, the more terrible to them be- 
cause of his taciturnity. One old man told Howitt 
that he had heaid that Rousseau " thought nothing 
of going over Weaver when the feeris were out 
dancing a nights." ^ Two of his caps and a pipe 
which belonged to him were long preserved in 

^ Correspondance, CEvvres Completes, vol. viii. p. 130. 
2 For these traditions, see Howitt's Visits to Remarkable Places, 
pp. 513, 514. 



248 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

the village. Both of Howitt's informants spoke of 
his and Therese's kindness to the poor, adding that 
it was popularly supposed that he was some king 
who had been driven from his dominions, and also 
that he held communion with supernatural beings. 
Local tradition still points to some mezereons 
among the rocks which are said to have sprung 
from seeds sown by him, and a grotto near Wooton 
Hall is still known as Rousseau's Cave. Another 
of his favourite retreats was beneath a circular 
cluster of oaks, known locally as " The Twenty 
Oaks," the site of which commanded a fine 
prospect of most picturesque hill and woodland 
scenery.^ 

But Rousseau's host at Wooton was to fare 
as his host at London had fared before him, though 
happily without having any crimes imputed to 
him. Up to December his relations with his 
patron had been most friendly. His letters to 
him and his references to him in his other corre- 
spondence are in the highest degree complimentary 
and even affectionate. He is a " tres galant 
homme, plein d' attention et de soins " — his kind- 
nesses had only been equalled by the delicacy with 
which they had been conferred — " ses attentions 
seules m'empgchent d'oublier que je suis dans la 

1 History and Topography of Ashbourne (1839), p. 248. 




RorssEAu's Cave, Woottox Hall. 



"' 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 249 

maison d'autrui." And indeed it is easy to see 
that Davenport was, in every sense of the term, 
a true Enghsh gentleman, the soul of courtesy, 
liberality, kindliness. But he had neglected to 
answer some questions which Rousseau had asked 
him. What they were does not appear ; they seem 
to have had reference to some impertinences on the 
part of the servants. " I would as willingly put 
myself at the mercy of all the devils in Hell," wrote 
Rousseau some time before to Dutens, " as at that of 
English domestic servants." ^ Then, and instantly, 
the scene changed. A furious letter from Rous- 
seau, demanding to know on what footing he stood 
at Wooton, and threatening that if he was not 
informed immediately he should leave the house, 
was the result.^ And the letter was the more 
offensive as it reminded his host that he had not 
sought his hospitality — it had been practically 
forced on him. Mr. Davenport appears to have 
sent a satisfactory reply, for the storm blew over, 
and the spring of 1767 found the philosopher still 
at Wooton on good terms with his host, and in 
love with an idle and contemplative life, which 
became each day more delicious to him.^ 

^ To Dutens, CEuvres Completes, vol. viii. p. 189. 

- To Davenport, Dec. 22, 1766, CEuvres Co}7ipletes, vol. viii. p. 160. 

^ Letter to the Marquis de Mirabeau, 31st January 1767. 



250 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

In March, much to the surprise of General 
Conway, he appHed through Mr. Davenport for 
the pension which he reminded him had been 
promised. The result is greatly to Hume's credit, 
for the application which it was now necessary 
to make to the King depended on his decision. 
The King, after what had passed, was not dis- 
posed to regard Rousseau with much favour, but 
as the pension had been promised it should be 
granted, he said, and Rousseau, little thinking 
what he owed to his good-natured enemy, char- 
acteristically acknowledged it. He accepted it, 
he writes to Conway, as "1^ arrhes d'une epoque 
heureuse autant qu' honorable, qui m'assure, sous 
la protection de sa majeste, des jours desormais 
paisibles." This was on the 26th of March. On 
the 2nd of April he was writing to Peyrou in a 
strain which shows unmistakably that his mind 
was unhinged, and from this moment insanity, or 
something indistinguishable from insanity, marks 
his correspondence and his actions. It seems that 
a letter addressed to him by Peyrou had fallen by 
mistake into the hands of his cousin, F. H. Rous- 
seau, and had, very naturally, been returned to 
him after being opened. His cousin he believed 
to be an ally of Hume, and he flew to the conclusion 
that Hume and Hume's friends were again tamper- 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 251 

ing with his letters. He tells Peyrou that he has 
been entrapped on all sides : that spies have been 
set to watch him for the purpose of stealing his 
papers, presumably the manuscript of the Confes- 
sions. " O destiny, O my friend," he cries, " pray 
for me, I have not merited the misfortunes which 
are crushing me." If he is not rescued and things 
come to the worst, it will only remain for him to 
burn all his papers, and that he will do rather than 
that they should fall into the hands of his enemies. 
Some friend must come to him — letters are vain, 
because all letters are intercepted between Wooton 
and London.^ On the 30th of April he wrote to 
Mr. Davenport, telling him that next day he in- 
tended to quit Wooton for ever. 

" I shall leave," he said, " my small belongings, 
as well as those of Mademoiselle le Vasseur, and 
I shall leave also the proceeds of the sale of my 
engravings and books, as securitj^ for the debt 
incurred by me since Christmas. I am not 
ignorant of the snares which threaten me, nor of 
my powerlessness in protecting myself from them. 
It only remains for me to finish with courage a 
career passed with honour. It is easy to oppress 
me, but difficult to degrade me." 

1 See the two letters to Peyrou dated 2nd and 4th of April, 
CEuvres Completes, vol. viii. pp. 19 1-2 and 193-4. 



252 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

He thanked him for the " noble hospitaUte " 
which he had shown him, and concluded by saying 
that he should often regret the retreat which he 
was quitting, but he should regret still more the 
fact that he had not succeeded in making so 
agreeable a host a friend.^ 

The sole reason assigned by him for this abrupt 
departure was that Mr. Davenport had forgotten 
some promise which he had made him, and had left 
the house without ascertaining, what he probably 
knew, that his guest was comfortable . The next day, 
ist May, he and Therese departed, without a word to 
anyone, leaving their trunks packed, with the keys 
dangling at the locks, between ;f20 and £30 in Mr. 
Davenport's possession, and no directions as to what 
was to be done with either the trunks or the money, 
or any address. Mr. Davenport, in amazement, 
did not know what to do. Supposing, however, that 
he had gone to London, he sent on some papers 
to him to an address there, but learned to his 
further perplexity that nothing had been heard 
of him. More than a fortnight passed without 
any news of the fugitives. The London Chronicle 
recorded his flight from Wooton, and conjectured 
that, as it was known that he had taken the road 
to London, he was probably concealed in or near 

^ To Davenport, CEuvres Completes, vol. viii. p. 196. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 253 

there, commenting severely at the same time on 
his ingratitude to his EngUsh friends.^ At last, 
on 17th May, Mr. Davenport received a letter 
from him dated May iith,^ at Spalding, in Lincoln- 
shire, apologising for his unceremonious departure 
from Wooton, and expressing his readiness to 
go back there if Mr. Davenport would receive him 
and facilitate his return. 

" I preferred," he said, " liberty to a residence 
at your house. But I infinitely prefer a residence 
at your house to any other kind of captivity, and 
I prefer every kind of captivity to that in which I 
am, which is horrible, and which, come what may, 
cannot be endured." 

On the receipt of this letter, Mr. Davenport im- 
mediately despatched a servant to Spalding, 
assuring his troublesome correspondent of his 
continued protection ; but the man learned on 
arriving that Rousseau had started for Dover four 
days before. 

But this was not the only letter he wrote from 
Spalding. He sent a petition to the Lord Chan- 
cellor, Lord Camden, telling him that he had been 
seduced into England by a promise of hospitality, 
but that he had met with the worst usage, that he 

^ London Chronicle, 1 2 th May. 

2 Burton's Life of Hume, vol. ii. p. 369. 



254 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

was in danger of his life from the plots of his 
enemies, and that he prayed, therefore, that the 
Lord Chancellor would, as the first civil magistrate 
of the kingdom, appoint a guard to conduct him 
safely out of the kingdom, the expense of which 
guard he would himself defray. Lord Camden, 
who replied through his secretary, merely observed 
that he was mistaken in the nature of the country, 
for that the first post-boy he could apply to was 
as safe a guide as the Chancellor could appoint.^ 
In the same strain he wrote to General Conway, 
claiming the protection of the King, and desiring 
that a party of cavalry might be immediately 
ordered to escort him to Dover. To this Conway 
replied by assuring him that postilions were a 
very sufiicient guard throughout every part of the 
King's dominions.^ At Spalding he resided at 
the White Hart Inn, and it is curious to find that 
a writer in such panic as this letter implies was 
making himself exceedingly agreeable to the 
clergyman of the place, the Rev. John Dinham, 

1 Burton's Life of Hume, vol. ii. p. 375. The letter to Lord 
Camden seems to have been published, for Gray had read it. Gray 
to the Rev. James Brown, 6th June 1767. 

2 I give this on the authority of Hardy's Life of Lord Charlemont, 
vol. i. p. 231. Charlemont says that General Conway showed him 
both Rousseau's letter and his own reply. If this be correct, 
Rousseau must have written twice to General Conway from 
Spalding. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 255 

with whom he passed several hours each day, and 
who found him " cheerful, good-humoured, easy, 
and enjoying himself perfectly well, without the 
least fear or complaint of any kind." ^ Another 
inhabitant of Spalding, a Mr. Edmund Jessop, 
then practising as a surgeon there, desired to make 
his acquaintance. He accordingly sent a note to 
him in Latin to the effect that he should be glad 
to converse with him on the subject of one of his 
late publications, which, though condemned by 
many, had merited, in Mr. Jessop's opinion, the 
greatest approbation ; and Mr. Jessop appears to 
have given the rein to compliment. Rousseau's 
reply could not have encouraged his correspondent 
to press further attentions on him. 

" You address me as a literary man, sir, in a 
literary language, on subjects of literature. You 
load me with eulogies so pompous that they are 
ironical, and you think to intoxicate me with such 
incense. You are mistaken, sir, on all these 
points. I am not a man of letters. I was so 
once, to my misfortune, but I have long since 
ceased to be so. Nothing relative to that pro- 
fession suits me now. Excessive eulogy has 

^ This was communicated to Hume by a Mr. Fitzherbert, who 
had it from the clergyman himself. See Burton's Hiune, vol. ii. 
P- 375- For the names of the inn, the clergyman, and the doctor 
I am indebted to the courtesy of Dr. Martin Perry of Spalding. 



256 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

never flattered me. At the present moment, 
especially, I have more need of consolation than 
incense. . . . My errors may be great, my senti- 
ments ought to have been an atonement for them. 
I believe there have been many points on which 
people have not desired to understand me. You 
style yourself a surgeon. If you had spoken to 
me of botany, and of the plants which your country 
produces, you would have given me pleasure, 
and I should have been able to discourse with you 
on that ; but as for my books, and of every other 
sort of books, you would speak to me in vain, 
because I no longer take any interest in matters 
of that kind. I do not reply to you in Latin, for 
the reason already assigned. I have no more of 
that language now left me than just as much as is 
necessary to understand Linnaeus' phrases." * 

His object in seeking refuge in so remote a 
place as Spalding was evidently to elude the pursuit 
of his fancied enemies ; this is therefore another 
proof of the genuineness of his fears. It was 
probably want of money which induced him to 
press on to Dover, for, having received no reply 

1 For this incident, as well as the letter, see London Magazine for 
August 1767, pp. 4 1 8, 4 1 9, where it is printed, as here given, in English. 
The letter, presumably retranslated, is given in French in Rousseau's 
CEuvres Completes, Paris, i8?5. It is dated loth May, which is quite 
right, though the editor, not knowing the circumstances, says that 
it should be loth April. In Rousseau's CEuvres Completes, Paris, 
181 7 (vol. viii. p. 407), the letter is dated 13th May. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 257 

to his letter to Mr. Davenport, he concluded, as 
he informed Mr. Davenport in a letter written 
on the day he left Spalding, that a return to Wooton 
would not be allowed. His money had run so 
short that he was reduced to the necessity of 
breaking up a silver spoon or fork which he hap- 
pened to have with him to defray his expenses 
at the inns on the road.^ He travelled with such 
expedition that the journey from Spalding to 
Dover, a distance of some two hundred miles, 
only occupied two days. 

On arriving at Dover he found that the wind 
was contrary. This drove him nearly frantic. He 
interpreted it as part of a plot, and an " order from 
superior authority " — meaning presumably Provid- 
ence — to retard his departure, with the view of grati- 
fying the designs of his enemies. Though he could 
not speak English, he mounted on an eminence and 

^ He communicated this fact to his friend Corancez. See 
Corancez's account of Rousseau, contributed to the Journal de 
Paris, numbers 251, 256, 258, 259, 260, 261, and reprinted in the 
Bibliotheque des Memoires relatifs a PHistoire de France pendant le 
X VHP Steele, pp. 58-69. The English translation of this appeared in 
1798 with the following title-page, Anecdotes of the last Twelve Years 
of J. J. Rousseau. Originally published in the Journal de Paris by 
Citizen Corancez, one of the Editors of that Paper, translated frotn 
the French. It was written in answer to a book entitled De mes 
rapports avec J. J. Rousseau et de notre correspondance, par 
J. Dussaulx. Dussaulx was an enemy of Rousseau, and his object 
was detraction. 
17 



258 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

harangued the astonished people, who could under- 
stand neither his conduct nor his words. This, he 
afterwards acknowledged to Corancez, was a 
** real fit of madness." ^ But it seems that he was 
under the impression that the Due de Choiseul, 
then Prime Minister in France, was in league with 
his enemies in England, and intended to have him 
arrested. Under the influence of this utterly 
groundless panic he wrote — and an extraordinary 
letter it was — again to General Conway. He 
begins by imploring Conway to listen attentively 
to him and to weigh carefully what he was going 
to say. He could not understand, he said, with 
what object he had been brought to England — 
some object there was, that was certain. Con- 
sidering his insignificance it could hardly have 
been a State affair (" une affaire d'etat ") ; such 
a supposition was so inexplicable as to be simply 
incredible ; and yet the plot against him, the alli- 
ance of the most estimable and distinguished men in 
the kingdom, nay, the whole kingdom itself, with 
a single individual, desiring to humiliate another 
individual, was if possible still more inexplicable. 
But it was a fact, and he must face it. Conway's 
mind, he makes no doubt, had been poisoned 

^ For the whole of this see Corancez, English translation, pp. 
68-69. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 259 

against him ; still he was not without hope 
that an appeal to his reason might have some 
effect. To assist him to leave England in safety 
would be at least a prudent action, for if he was 
privately made away with or kidnapped he was 
so well known that inquiries were sure to be made 
into his disappearance, and the whole thing would 
some day come out. One of the objects of the 
conspiracy against him was undoubtedly to pre- 
vent him writing the memoirs in which, as was well 
known, it was his intention to tell the truth about 
his treatment in England. But he would engage 
not to write them ; he would bind himself by the 
most solemn ties to refrain from either putting 
on paper or speaking a single defamatory or 
disrespectful word about England or about any 
man in England ; he would never mention even 
Hume's name, or if he did he would speak of him 
with honour. As a guarantee and earnest of his 
promises he would at once place in Conway's 
hands all his papers relative to England, and he 
would write him a letter placing on record the 
whole of what he had agreed to. As an additional 
guarantee he would retain the pension which the 
King had conferred on him, and so bind himself by 
indissoluble ties to the sacred claims of gratitude 
to the King and to the country that have made 



26o ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

him their debtor. Thus far he had addressed 
himself to Conway's reason — he would conclude 
with a w^ord addressed to his heart. He had before 
him a miserable man reduced to despair, awaiting 
only the manner of his death. He could recall 
that poor wretch to life ; he could be his saviour ; 
he could make the most unfortunate of men a 
happy man once more.^ 

At Dover he wrote also to Mr. Davenport, 
telling him that when he beheld the sea and 
realised that he was indeed a free man, he resolved 
to return to Wooton ; but he was diverted from 
that intention by seeing in one of the English 
newspapers some severe remarks on the way in 
which he had treated his host ; he refers, no doubt, 
to the paragraph in the London Chronicle of the 
I2th of May.'^ This decided him to quit England. 
On the 2ist or 22nd of May he was at Calais, and 
England knew him no more. 

There was much speculation about his motives 
for acting as he had done in quitting Wooton, 
and in writing to the Lord Chancellor and to General 
Conway. It is not at all improbable that the 

^ Letter to General Conway, dated Dover {CEuvres Completes ^ 
vol. viii. pp. 196-200). It is not improbable that it was written at 
Spalding, and perhaps posted at Dover. 

2 See London Chronicle for that date. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 261 

wretched woman who was his companion was 
responsible at least for the first step. " C'etait 
une mechante femme, qui a cause beaucoup de 
chagrins a Rousseau," says one who knew her 
well.^ She must have found the life at Wooton 
intolerably dull. So stupid that she could not 
learn English, she had no other companion than 
Rousseau, of whom she probably saw comparatively 
little, for he loved solitude and meditation ; ^ she 
does not appear to have accompanied him in his 
long daily walks, nor to have gone with him into 
such society as they had. He rarely refers to her 
in his correspondence. We know that she was not 
on good terms either with Mr. Davenport's house- 
keeper or with the servants. It was natural that 
she should wish to get back to her own country 
and to more congenial surroundings, and it is 
difficult to see how she could do so except by 
making Rousseau discontented with England. 
Dullard and simpleton though she was, she had 
him completely under her influence, and probably 
conjured up the phantoms which drove him mad, 
partly perhaps to amuse herself, and partly for the 

^ See Memoires de Mens. Girardin, vol. i. pp. 19-37; but see 
also the Memoirs and Correspondence of Sir Ja?nes E. Smith, vol. i. 
pp. 180-81, where a more favourable account is given of her. 

2 He tells us that when he was busy with his works whole weeks 
passed without any conversation with her {Confessions, xii. 188). 



262 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

practical purpose referred to. Some attributed his 
conduct to pure calculation, and saw no madness 
in it at all. His desire, they thought, was to get 
himself talked about, to advertise himself, as Sterne 
and Foote were doing, by his eccentricities. This 
was the opinion of Adam Smith and of Gibbon. 
Gibbon puts that view very emphatically.^ *' He 
withdrew to the heart of a desert, where he was 
allowed to vegetate so peacefully that he was com- 
pelled to quarrel with all our men of letters in 
order to become notorious," his flight from Wooton 
and his letters to Lord Camden and General Conway 
being moves in the same game. " Mes sentimens 
pour lui," wrote D'Alembert, " n'en recevront 
aucun changement : je le regarde comme un fou 
tres dangereux, dont tout le merite se borne a une 
belle loquele et a une fort mauvaise logique." ^ 

The conclusion to which Hume came was that 
he was " a composition of whim, affectation, wicked- 
ness, vanity, and inquietude, with a very small, if 
any, ingredient of madness." This is probably 
much nearer the truth than the other view. Men 
tempered as Rousseau so obviously was seldom 
calculate their actions, and are rarely guided in 

1 See letter of Gibbon published by General Meredith Read in 
his Historic Studies, vol. ii. p. 360. 

^ Letters of Eminent Persons, p. 210. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 263 

any action by any one motive. It is certainly not 
easy to understand how a man could conduct him- 
self as Rousseau appears to have done at Spalding, 
and be at the same time in such a distempered 
state of mind as his letter to General Conway in- 
dicates. It is equally difficult to reconcile the 
lucidity, precision, and method apparent in the 
expression and arrangement of all he writes, with 
the coexistence of hallucinations so monstrous 
and baseless as to be absolutely incompatible with 
sanity. The problem would be solved if we ac- 
cepted the hypothesis of Gibbon and Adam Smith, 
and a cunning and despicable knave, black with 
ingratitude and treachery, would take the place of 
a madman. But no one who studies his corre- 
spondence, and particularly the letters to Peyrou, 
can doubt his sincerity. The truth is that, like 
Tasso and Cowper, he was the subject of a malady 
which can hardly be called insanity, because it 
leaves so many functions un-deranged and so many 
faculties unimpaired, but which exhibits itself in 
a peculiar form of monomania. In Mr. Morley's 
admirable analysis of Rousseau's temperament 
and character, he notes that the chief feature was 
the exaltation of emotion over intelligence, and 
observes that the tendency of the dominant side of 
a character to diseased exaggeration is a fact of 



264 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

daily experience. This is the key to Rousseau's 
pecuUarities. Inordinate self-consciousness and in- 
ordinate vanity became at last exalted into mania. 
He imagined that the eyes of the whole world were 
upon him, or ought to be upon him ; he became 
the centre of all he thought and of all he felt. He 
seems to have supposed, said the author of the 
Letter to Horace Walpole, *' that as soon as he 
arrived at Dover the English should have been 
affected as they were at the Restoration on the 
landing of the Prince of Orange." He was a pro- 
scribed exile in a country the language of which 
he could not understand, to the manners and ways 
of which he was an entire stranger. He grew 
suspicious of what he could not comprehend, and 
suspicion soon hardened into distrust. He thought 
it probable that Hume was jealous of him, and this 
became the nucleus of his morbid fancies. His 
sensitive pride, galled at the thought of depend- 
ence and on the watch for everything which could 
be construed into a slight ; his constitutional 
timidity, always on the rack of expectation, as he 
knew, and knew truly, that he had many enemies ; 
the hospitable reception given in the newspapers 
to Voltaire's libels ; his solitary life, passed with a 
companion who, there can be little doubt, encour- 
aged him in his delusions, and perhaps aggravated 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 265 

them — all this amply accounts for his outrageous 
conduct, without our having recourse to meaner 
motives for an explanation. When he said, as he 
did to Peyrou, that the design of Hume and his 
associates was to cut off all his resources, all his 
communications with the Continent, and make 
him perish in distress and misery, it is impossible 
to doubt that he said what he firmly believed. 
Mr. Morley has well observed that Rousseau was 
at bottom a character " as essentially sincere, 
truthful, careful of fact and reality, as is consistent 
with the general empire of sensation over untrained 
intelligence."^ He said of himself, with simple 
truth— 

" Je me rends le temoignage que pendant quinze 
ans, que j'ai eu le malheur d'exercer le triste metier 
d'homme de lettres, je n'ai contracte aucun des 
vices de cet etat ; I'envie, la jalousie, I'esprit d'in- 
trigue et de charlatanerie n'ont pas un instant 
approche de mon coeur." ^ 

A more exasperating guest has never shared the 
hospitality of England, but the descendants of the 
hosts of Rousseau have no reason to be ashamed of 

^ Rousseau, vol, ii. p. 302. 

2 No one can doubt the correctness and honesty of Rousseau's 
painfully elaborate analysis of his own temperament and character 
both in the Dialogues and in the Reveries. See particularly the 
Fourth of the Reveries. 



266 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

their ancestors. All who could entertain or in any 
way serve him seem to have vied with one another 
in pressing their civilities and attentions upon 
him. He was, he says, embarrassed by the kind- 
ness with which he was treated. To study his 
comforts, to gratify and if possible to anticipate 
his wishes was, he tells us, the pleasure of everyone. 
As soon as it was known that he desired a retreat 
in the country, several private residences were at 
once placed gratuitously at his disposal. The 
prudery of English society was relaxed in his 
favour, and a transparent fiction was accepted 
that he might be spared the annoyance of see- 
ing his sordid paramour neglected or slighted. 
Never has the character of an English gentleman 
been more strikingly illustrated than in the conduct 
of Mr. Davenport. No provocation could make 
him forget the relation in which he stood to one 
whom he had accepted as a guest. Frank, thought- 
ful, and urbane, his kindness and generosity were 
only equalled by the tact and grace with which his 
favours were conferred. " It is only by the atten- 
tions I receive," wrote Rousseau to Madame de 
Boufflers, " that I know I am in another's house." 
And from first to last it was the same. Davenport's 
only reply to the letter in which his troublesome 
and ungrateful guest so abruptly and rudely bade 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 267 

adieu to him was, on the first intimation of his 
desire to return, to send a servant after him as- 
suring him of his continued protection and good- 
will. Of Hume's goodness to him enough has been 
said, but it may be added that, after the provoca- 
tion he had received, he was not only, as we have 
seen, instrumental in obtaining the pension for him, 
but on Rousseau's return to France he exercised all 
the influence in his power to protect him from the 
vengeance of the Parlement de Paris, and to secure 
him a safe asylum/ 

It is curious to compare the way in which 
Voltaire and Rousseau employed their time in 
England, and the impression which their residence 
here made upon them. In a few months Voltaire 
could both read and speak English with perfect 
fluency. He studied our manners, our customs, 
our police, our laws, our constitution, our politics, 
our religion and religious sects, our divinity, our 
philosophy, our science. He made himself a 
perfect master of our literature, and of our liter- 

1 A circumstance so honourable to Hume should be emphasised. 
It is recorded in a letter from Turgot to Hume, ist June 1767. 
Letters of Eminent Persons^ p. 159. One sentence deserves 
quoting : " II n'y a que I'interet meme que vous prenez, et la 
singularite de cette circonstance, qui puisse peut-etre adoucir le Roi 
sur le compte de Rousseau, en faisant demander la chose en votre 
nom par M. Choiseul." 



268 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

ature in all its branches. He prided himself, and 
not without justice, on his English composition 
both in verse and prose. He entered heartily into 
every movement of the time. He was a member 
of the Royal Society. He made his way into every 
circle, and into every coffee-house and club in 
London. He left us with the highest respect, 
affection, and admiration, and the whole of his 
future life was coloured by his association with us. 
There is, it must be owned, a great difference be- 
tween a man of twenty-five and thirty and a man 
between fifty and sixty. But the apathy and in- 
difference of Rousseau to all that related to the 
asylum of his exile can hardly be attributable to 
years. He made one attempt to learn the language, 
by comparing an English translation with the 
French text of his own Emilius, but soon abandoned 
the task in disgust, as he could not bear to be 
reminded, he said, of his own writings. The net 
result of his study of English was the acquisition 
of thirty words, and those he forgot at Wooton — 
*' tant leur terrible baragouin," so he described the 
language of Shakespeare and Milton, ** est in- 
dechiffrable a mon oreille." His references to our 
literature in his letters at this time begin and end 
with a single passage about Richardson.^ He is 

' Letter to Peyrou, 21st June 1766. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 269 

silent about the interesting men whom he must 
have met ; about pubhc events ; about the country ; 
about everything which would naturally engage 
the attention of a visitor and traveller. Nothing 
can be more wearisome than his correspondence, 
which is occupied almost entirely with the discus- 
sion of his grievances, and of himself. It has not, 
except occasionally, even that charm of style which 
is inseparable from his characteristic writings. It 
is the reflection of a man who has, to employ a 
forcible and popular phrase, " gone all to pieces." 
It gives us the key to the character of which 
Wright's portrait is the silent interpreter. It would 
seem that, from the moment he set foot on English 
soil, the Nemesis which seldom fails in the long run 
to attend the profligate subjection of the reasonable 
to the emotional nature, began to pursue its dis- 
astrous course. The generous enthusiast of Emile 
and the Social Cofitrad, the vigorous and masculine 
controversialist of the Letter to Beaumont and the 
Letters from the Mountain, disappears in a morbid, 
h3^sterical and sentimental egotist, and indeed in 
something worse, in one of the most pitiable illus- 
trations of the Aristotelian Acolast to be found in 
the records of men of genius. 

The influence exercised by English writers on 
Rousseau was, though perhaps exaggerated by 



270 ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 

Texte/ no doubt considerable, but it affected him 
rather indirectly than directly, always through the 
medium of translation and long before his visit to 
us. The Nouvelle Helo'ise unquestionably owed 
much, as well in its form as in its sentiment, to 
Richardson's masterpiece ; while almost all the 
elements entering into its composition could be 
resolved into elements distinctly traceable to what 
was finding expression both in our poetry and in 
our prose fiction between about 1740 and 1770. 
The extravagance and eloquence of the Contrat 
Social are all his own, but some of its central ideas 
were derived from Hobbes, Algernon Sidney, and 
Locke. Emile owes at least its foundations and 
much of its substance to Locke's educational 
treatise, which had been translated into French as 
early as 1695 ; while to a French version of Milton's 
Paradise Lost, the fourth, fifth, and ninth books, the 
sentimental portions are largely indebted. How 
greatly he profited from the perusal of a French 
translation of the Spectator he has himself recorded 
in the third book of the First Part of the Confes- 
sions, and the perusal of the Spectator he recom- 
mends in Emile as of great educational value to 
young women. To Robinson Crusoe he assigns the 

1 See Joseph Texte's Jean-Jacques Roicsseau et les Origines du 
Cosnwpolitisme Litteraire. 



ROUSSEAU IN ENGLAND 271 

first place among books of instruction for the 
young, and has more than once spoken of it in 
extravagant terms ; on Entile its influence is 
plainly discernible. Pope's Essay on Man was a 
great favourite with him. " Le poeme de Pope 
adoucit mes maux et me porte a la patience," he 
says in a letter to Voltaire, where he discusses its 
philosophy.^ 

But Rousseau was never a great reader. Much 
which may be attributed to English influence came, 
no doubt, filtered through other sources, or belonged 
to the atmosphere created by that anglomanie 
which, initiated by Voltaire and Beat Ludvig Von 
Muralt, had been accentuated by Montesquieu, by 
the Abbe Prevost, and by a long succession of 
translators. Everything, indeed, of importance 
which in and after our Augustan age had appeared 
in English literature had received a French dress, 
and was in that form more or less influential wher- 
ever French was spoken. What, therefore, Rous- 
seau owed to England, he owed to it long before he 
set foot on our shores. 

1 Correspondance ; CEuvres Completes, vol. vii. p. 35. 



f' 



APPENDIX 



To Dr. Towne. 

Nov. the 14th [No year], 
Parsons Green. 

Sr. — Your friend Capt. Kingstone returning to 
Barbadoes, I take this occasion of assuring you 
of the satisfaction it was to me to be informed by 
him of yr. good health, and of the kind reception 
you met with from everybody there. If I were 
inchned to envy you anything which eld. give 
you pleasure, it should be the enjoyment of that 
charming sun — which we so seldome see here, 
and which has been more cruell this winter than 
usually by almost a continuall absence. 

Mrs. Robinson going (sic) to write to you very 
lamenting she had no news to tell you. However 
ill-informed of the affairs of this world, and how 
they are like to goe, you may be assured you know 
as much as the Plenipotentiary at Soisson, per- 
haps as much as our ministers here, and all the 
discovery that we lookers on can make is that one 
week they doubt, and one week they hope. The 
city of London follow their example, and this 

happens at Exchange Alley to be the doubting 
18 =■" 



274 APPENDIX 

week. It is as hard to account for our politics as 
for Mr. Voltaire's resolutions and conduct ; the 
country and people of England are in disgrace at 
present, and [he] has taken his leave of us, as of a 
foolish people who believe in God and trust in 
ministers ; and he is gone to Constantinople in 
order to believe in the Gospels, which he says it 
is impossible to doe living among the teachers of 
Christianity. 

He was mightily pleased with your translation 
of part of the book. We all wish you had Leasure 
to doe the whole. Mr. Pope approved it so much 
that he assured me he would look it over with the 
utmost care if you proceeded and ever intended to 
publish it. 

After repeated assurances from great men that 
a war wd. be avoided, and that we shld. have 
peace in some shape or other, it is now very pro- 
bable they will find themselves mistaken, letters 
of mark are given to great Dutch and English 
East India men to take the Ostend ships beyond 
the Cape of Good Hope, and the soldiers are in full 
expectation of imployment. 

I wish we doe not repent the oportunities 
we have lost and the time we have given our 
enemies, — I am, 

Sr., Your most affectionate humble servant, 

Peterborow. 
Endorsed 

Ld. Peterburrow. 



APPENDIX 275 



B 



Sr. — I wish you good health, a quick sale of 3^. 
burgundy, much latin and greek to one of yr. 
children, much law, much of Cooke and Littleton, 
to the other, quiet and joy to Mistress Brinsden, 
money to all. When you'll drink yr. Burgundy 
with Mr. Furneze pray tell him I'll never forget 
his fauours. But dear John, be so kind as to let 
me know how does my Lady Bullingbrooke. As 
to my lord, I left him so well I don't doubt he is 
so still. But I am very uneasie about my lady. 
If she might have as much health as she has spiritt 
and witt, sure she would be the strongest body 
in England. Pray dear Sr. write me something 
of her, of my lord and of you. Direct yr. letter 
by the penny post at Mr. Cavalier, Belitery 
Square by the R. Exchange. I am sincerely 
and heartily yr. most humble, most obedient 
rambling friend, 

Voltaire. 

(Historical MSS. Commission, Appendix to Ninth 
Report, p. 475.) 



A Londres le 3 Mars, 
1727. 

Monsieur, — Le S. de Voltaire, que vous m'avez 
fait I'honneur de me recommander et pour lequel 



276 APPENDIX 

vous m'avez addresse des lettres de recommanda- 
tion pour les ministres de cette cour, est prest a 
faire imprimer k Londres, par souscription son 
poeme de la Ligue. II me sollicite de lui procurer 
des souscrivants, et M. de Walpole s' employe de 
son cote tout de son mieux pour tocher de luy en 
faire avoir le plus grand nombre qu'il sera poss- 
ible ; je serois tres aise de luy faire plaisir, mais 
comme je n'ay point veu cet ouvrage, et que je 
ne sais point si les additions et soustractions 
qu'il dit avoir fait a celui qu'il a donn6 au public 
a Paris, ni les planches gravees qu'il en a fait 
venir pour I'enrichir seront approuvees de la Cour, 
je luy ay dit que je ne pouvois m'en mesler qu' 
autant que vous I'auriez pour agreable. Je crains 
toujours que des auteurs frangois ne veuillent 
faire un mauvais usage de la liberte qu'ils ont 
dans un pays comme celuy-cy d'ecrire tout ce 
qui leur vient dans 1' imagination sur la Religion, 
le Pape, le Gouvernement, ou les personnes qui le 
composent. Ce sont des licences que les poetes 
particulierement se croyent toujours en droit de 
se donner, sans s'embarrasser de prophaner ce 
qu'il y a de plus sacre. Et s'il se trouvoit quel- 
que chose de pareil dans ce poeme, je ne 
voudrois pas 6tre dans le cas d'essuyer le reproche 
que j'y aurois souscrit et engage des gens a y 
souscrire. Je vous supplie tres humblement. 
Monsieur, de vouloir bien me mander la conduite 
que je dois tenir a ce sujet ; je me conformeroy a 
ce que vous me feres I'honneur de me prescrire. 



APPENDIX 277 

J'ay celuy d'etre, avec un tres sincere et tres 
parfait attachement, 

Monsieur, 
Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur, 

Brogue. 



D 

This letter is written on two sheets of quarto paper, yellow 
with age, and begins only with p. 4. The original ink is faded 
and brown, but many corrections seem from their comparative 
blackness to be of later date. The letter terminates abruptly 
at p. 9, and was perhaps, as its present owner, Mr. Forbes 
Sieveking, conjectures, recopied by Voltaire before being 
despatched to Theriot. 



the best poet of England, and at present, of all 
the world, j hope you are acquainted enough 
with the English tongue, to be sensible of all the 
charms of his works, for my part j look on his 
poem call'd the essay upon criticism, as superior 
to the art of poetry of horace ; and his rape of the 
lock la houcle de cheveux [that is a comical one], 
is in my opinion above the lutrin of despreaux. 
j never saw so amiable an imagination, so gentle 
graces, so great varyety, so much wit, and so 
refined knowledge of the world, as in this little 
performance. 

now my dear Tiriot, after having fully answered 
to what you asked about English books, let me 
acquaint you with an account of my for ever 
cursed fortune, j came again into England in 



278 APPENDIX 

the latter end of July very much dissatisfied with 
my secret voiage into France both unsuccesful 
and expensive, j had about me onely some bills 
of exchange upon a jew called Medina for the sum 
of about eight or nine thousand french livres, 
reckoning all. at my coming to london i found 
my damned jew was broken, j was without a 
penny, sick to death of a violent agiie, a stranger, 
alone, helpless, in the midst of a city, wherein j 
was known to nobody, my lord and my lady 
bolingbroke were in the country, j could not 
make bold to see our ambassadour in so wretched 
a condition, j had never undergone such dis- 
tress ; but j am born to run through all the mis- 
fortunes of life, in these circumstances, my star, 
that among all its direful influences pours allways 
on me some kind refreshment, sent to me an english 
gentlemen unknown to me, who forced me to 
receive some money that j wanted, an other 
London citizen that j had seen but once at paris, 
carried me to his own country house, wherein j 
lead an obscure and charming life since that time, 
without going to london, and quite given over to 
the pleasures of indolence and of friendship, the 
true and generous affection of this man who sooths 
the bitterness of my life brings me to love you 
more and more, all the instances of friendshipp 
indear my friend Tiriot to me. j have seen often 
mylord and mylady Bolinbroke. j have found 
their affection still the same, even increased in 
proportion to my unhappiness. they offered me all, 



APPENDIX 279 

their money, their house ; but j refused all, because 
they are lords, and j have accepted all from Mr. 
faulknear, because he is a single gentleman. 

j had a mind at first to print our Poor Henry 
at my own expenses in london, but the loss of my 
money is a sad stop to my design : j question if j 
shall try the way of subscriptions by the favour 
of the court, j am weary of courts, my thiriot. all 
that is King, or belongs to a king, frights my 
repubhcan philosophy, j won't drink the least 
draught of slavery in the land of liberty. 

j have written freely to the abbot desfontaines 
it is true, and j will allwais do so, having no reason 
to lay myself under any restraint, j fear, j hope 
nothing from your country, all that j wish 
for, is to see you one day in london. j am enter- 
taining myself with this pleasant hope, if it is 
but a dream, let me enjoy it, don't undeceive me, 
let me believe j shall have the pleasure to see you 
in london, [drawing up] the strong spirit of this 
unaccountable nation, you will translate their 
thoughts better, when you live among em. you 
will see a nation fond of her liberty, learned, witty, 
despising hfe and death, a nation of philosophers, 
not but that there are some fools in england, every 
country has it madmen, it may be, french folly 
is pleasanter than english madness, but, by god, 
english wisdom and Enghsh Honesty is above yours, 
one day j will acquaint you with the character 
of this strange people, but tis time to put an end 
to my enghsh talkativeness, i fear, you will take 



28o APPENDIX 

this long epistle for one of those tedious english 
books that j have advised you not to translate, 
before j make up my letter, j must acquaint you 
with the reason of receiving yours so late, t'is 
the fault of my correspondent at Calais master 
dunoquet. so you must write to me afterwards, 
at my lord bolmgbroke' s House, london. this way 
is shorter and surer, tell all who will write to me 
that they ought to make use of this superscription. 

j have written so much about the death of my 
sister to those who had writ to me on this account, 
that i had almost forgotten to speak to you of her. 
j have nothing to tell you on that accident but 
that you know my heart and my way of thinking. 
j have wept for her death, and I would be with 
her. Life is but a dream full of starts of folly, and 
of fancied, and true miseries, death awakes us from 
this painful dream, and gives us, either a better 
existence or no existence at all. farewell, write 
often to me. depend upon my exactness in answer- 
ing you when j shall be fixed in london. 

Write me some lines in english to show your 
improvement in your learning. 

j have received the letter of the marquess of 
Villars, and that which came from turky by 
marseille. 

j have forgot the romance which- you speak of. 
j don't remember j have ever made verses upon 
this subject, forget it, forget all these deliriums 
of my youth, for my part j have drunk of the 
River lethe. j remember nothing but my friends. 



INDEX 



Abauzit, Firmin, 195. 

Addison, Joseph, 53, 72, 102, 

180, 196. 
Aeschylus, 30. 
Andover, Lady, 245. 
Anne, Queen, 38. 
Annual Register, 194, 213 7tote. 
Appleby's Weekly Journal, 157. 
Ashburnham, Lord, 55 note. 
Atterbury, Bishop, 89, 90. 
Augustus, 44. 
Aylesbury, Lady, 203, 213. 

Bacon, Francis, 57, 59. 

Baculard, on Voltaire's in- 
come, 75, 78. 

Ballantyne, Archibald, his Vol- 
taire's visit to England, vi., vii. 

Bathurst, Lord, 30. 

Beaucharap de Genevois, 195. 

Bengesco, Georges, 95. 

Berkeley, Bishop, Voltaire's 
opinion of, 60. 

Berwick, Marshal, 133. 

Bessieres, Mdlle.^ 23, 25. 

Beuchot, M.^ editor of Voltaire, 
89 note, 95, iSg'^note, 226 note. 

Bladen, Edmund, 66 note. 

Bladen, Martin, 66. 

Blair, Dr., 201, 216, 221 note, 
232. 

Boileau, N. Despreaux, 72, 100, 
105, 106 note. 

Boileau, Sir Maurice, vii. 



Bohngbroke, Lord, 2, 3 note, 12; 
probably Voltaire's first host, 
14, 18, 19, 25, 27, 28, 29, 
40, 41, 42, 43, 57, 59, 61, 
77, 93, 94, 95, 146 note; his 
connection with the Dunkirk 
affair, 152-5, 160, 176, 180,278. 

Bohngbroke, Lady, 25, 27, 39, 
46, 275,278. 

Boswell, James, 207, 208 note. 

Bourbon, Due de, 17 note, 126, 

134- 
Boy de la Tour, Mme., 194 note. 
Brinsden, John, 28, 69. 
Brinsden, Mistress, 275. 
British Chronicle, 218, 223. 
British Gazetteer, 7. 
British Journal, 8 note. 
Broglie, Due de, 9, 72-3, 277. 
Broome, Major, 29 note, 36 note. 
Brown, Rev. James, 254 note. 
Brown, Lancelot, 172. 
Brussels Gazette, 232. 
Bunbury, Lady Sarah, her letter 

on Rousseau, 205-6. 
Burke, Edmund, 42; on Rousseau, 

213 note, 214. 
Burnet, Bishop, 103. 
Bussy-Rabutin, 168. 
Butler, Bishop, 142. 
Byrom, John, 83 note. 

Camden, Lord, 253, 254, 260, 262. 
Camoens, Luis, 66. 



281 



282 



INDEX 



Campbell, Lord, i6i notCy 165 
note. 

Carlyle, Thomas, on Voltaire's 
visit to England, his errors, 
3 and note, y^ note, 114. 

Caroline, Princess, afterwards 
Queen, 46, 53, 74, 75, 76, 
85, 156, 161, 162, 163, 169. 

Carteret, afterwards Earl Gran- 
ville, 159. 

Cavalier, Mr., 70, 93, 275. 

Caylus, Comte de, 126. 

Celeste, M., 129. 

Cerati, Father, 134, 135, 157, 164, 

175- 

Chalkstone, Lord, 203 note. 

Chardin, Sir John, 124. 

Charlemont, Lord, 170, 172, 
173, 174, 210 note, 254 note. 

Charles I., 13. 

Charlotte, Queen, 13. 

Chateauneuf, his Divorces Ang- 
lais, 39 note. 

Chauvelin, 133. 

Chesterfield, Lord, vi., 46, yy, 
82, 117, 120, 128, 133, 134, 
159, 161, 162, 168; his me- 
morial to Montesquieu, 176-7. 

Chetwood,WilliamRufus, 22 note. 

Choiseul, Due de, 258. 

Christophe de Beaumont, 187. 

Churchill, Arabella, 133. 

Churchill, General, 16. 

Chute, John, 203 note. 

Cibber, Colley, 22. 

Clarke, Dr. Samuel, 57, 58, 59. 

Clayton, Mrs., 46. 

Cobbett, 149 note. 

Cockburn, Mrs., 213. 

Coderc, 79. 

Collet, Stephen, 28 note, 6g note, 
80. 

Coligni, 64. 

Collins, Anthony, 57, 61. 



Collins, William, 66. 
Conde, Prince de, 5, 64. 
Condorcet on Voltaire's visit to 

England, i, 2 ; on Les Lettres 

Anglaises, 97, 226 note. 
Conduit, John, originator of "the 

falling apple " story, 34-5. 
Conduit, Mrs., 33, 35. 
Congreve, William, Voltaire's 

visit to, 36, 51, loi. 
Conti, Prince de, 187, 201. 
Conway, General, 203, 213, 214, 

217, 227, 228, 250, 254, 258, 

259, 260, 262, 263. 
Corancez, 257 note, 258. 
Corneille, Pierre, 162. 
Cornhill Magazine, v. 
Cowper, Thomas, 263. 
Coxe, Archdeacon, i so note, 151, 

154 note. 
Cradock, Joseph, 203 note, 205 

note. 
Craftsman, The, 144, 146, 152. 
Craggs, James, 45. 
Crebillon, Prosper J., 52. 
Croft, Herbert, 31. 
Cudworth, Ralph, 59. 
Cumberland, Duke of, 16. 
Cunningham, Peter, 169 note, 

203 note, 206 note, 217 note. 

d'Acosta, cheats Voltaire, 24. 

Dadichi, Theocharis, 83, 84. 

d'Aiguebere, Dumas, 9 note. 

Daily Courant, 6. 

Daily Journal, 44, 80 7iote. 

Daily Post, 48 note, 79, 80. 

d'Alembert, Jean le Rond, 174, 
177, 178 note, 224, 225, 226, 
230, 235, 240, 241, 262. 

Dante, 30. 

d'Arblay, Mme., her anecdote of 
Rousseau, 214-5. 

Darnaville, 238 no^e. 



INDEX 



283 



Darwin, Erasmus, 246. 
Davenport, Mr., places his house 

at Rousseau's disposal, 215-6 ; 

his kind stratagem, 221, 222, 

249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 257, 

260, 266. 
d'Aydies, Chevalier, 126. 
de Arboleda, Dr., 66 note. 
de Bernieres, Mme., 26, 27. 
de Bouffiers, Mme., 197, 19S, 

199, 202 note, 207 note, 208, 

221 note, 225, 231, 233, 242, 

265. 
de Clermont, Mile., 126. 
de Crequi, Mme., 201 note. 
Decroix, L. P., 226 note. 
de Ferriole, Mme., 5, 6, 42 note. 
Defoe, Daniel, 196. 
de Harley, Acliilles, 70. 
de la Lippe, Countess, 76. 
de Lambert, Mme., 126. 
Delany, Mrs., 214, 245. 
de Lartique, Jeanne, 121. 
De Launay, 5 note. 
de I'Espinasse, Mile., 237. 
de Lolme, John Louis, 67. 
Delort, J., 5 note. 
de Luxembourg, Mme., 186, 209. 
de Luze, M., 201, 208. 
de Luze, Mme., 216 note. 
De Marque, 195. 
Denham, Sir John, 100. 
Dennis, John, 29. 
de Penel, Fran^oise, 121. 
de Rohan, Cardinal, 157. 
de Rohan-Chabot, Chevalier, 

3 note, 17, 22. 
de Rothschild, Henri, 194 note. 
de Saussure, Cesar, 14 note, 47 

note, 82 note, 135 note, 195. 
Descartes, Rene, 57, 74. 
de Secondat, Jacques, 121. 
Desfontaines, Abbe, 68, 109, 

279. 



des Maizeaux, Peter, 80. 

Desnoiresterres, Gustave, on 
Voltaire's visit to England, 
3-4 ; his story of the Duchess 
of Marlborough, ^j, 39 note, 
54 note, 95, 109 note. 

d'Estrees, Marshal, 127. 

de Tencin, Mme., 126. 

de Verdelin, Mme., 199. 

de Voisinon, Abbe, 127. 

Dewes, Miss, 245. 

Deyverdun, 227. 

d'Hiberville, 140. 

d'Holbach, Baron, his advice to 
Hume, 234. 

d'Houdetot, Mme., 193. 

Diderot, Denis, his story about 
Montesquieu's bad English. 

Dinham, Rev. John, 254. 

d'lvernois, Fran9ois, 195, 222, 
242. 

Dodington, Bubb, 8, 15, 30. 

Dorset, Earl of, 100. 

Dryden, John, 53, 63, 64, 99-100, 
106. 

du Deffand, Mme., 126, 134. 

Dufresny, Charles Riviere, influ- 
ence on Montesquieu, 124. 

Dussaulx, J., 257 note. 

Dutens, 249 note. 

Duvernet, Abbe, 9 note ; his 
account of Voltaire's first 
interview with Pope, 21-2, 
62 note, 82 note, 98 and note. 

Echard, Laurence, 180. 
Elizabeth, Queen, 75, y6, 161. 
Elizabeth^ Princess Palatine, 74. 
Eugene, Prince, 128. 

Falkener, Sir Everard, 3 note ; 

account of him, 16, 17, 18, 27, 

28, 279. 
Fitzpatrick, General, 209. 



284 



INDEX 



Fleury, Cardinal, 85, 127, 133. 

Flying Post, 1 8 note. 

Folkes, Martin, 34, 159, 163, 164, 

165, 168, 175. 
Fontenelle, Bernard le Bovier 

de, 33, 34, 120, 163. 
Foote, Samuel, 262. 
Francis II., 6;^. 
Friend, Dr. John, 91 ; Voltaire's 

account of his death, 92-93. 
Fuseli, Henry, 238. 

Garrick, David, entertains 

Rousseau, 203-6, 233. 
Garrick, Mrs., 204, 205. 
Garth, Sir Samuel, Voltaire's 

admiration of his Dispensary, 

100. 
Gay, John, 36, 43, 51. 
Gentleman's Magazine, 16 note, 

17 note, 194, 202 note, 237. 
Geoffrin, Mme., 217. 
George I., 7, 10, 24, 25, 44, 45, 

46, 47- 

George II., 47, 74, 75, 78, 85, 
134, 150, 153, 15s, 156, 157, 
161. 

George III., 161, 200; at Gar- 
rick's play, 204-5, 212, 214, 
228, 250, 254, 258. 

Gibbon, Edward, 168, 195, 262, 
263. 

Goethe, 124. 

Goldsmith, Oliver, 16 note, 20 ; 
his account of Voltaire's first 
interview with Pope, 21 ; his 
story of the Duchess of Marl- 
borough, 27, 75, 94 note, 
139 note. 

Graeme, General, 212. 

Graff enried, Bailli, 192. 

Graham, his Stair Annals, 45 note. 

Granville, Bernard, 245. 

Gray, Thomas, 213, 214, 254 note. 



Greene, Robert, 34. 
Greville, Mrs., 205, 
Grimm, 201 note. 
Guasco, Abbe Comte de, 169. 

Halifax, Earl of, 100. 

Hardy, Francis, his Life of 
Lord Charlemont, 170 note, 
172 note, 175 note, 210 note, 
254. 

Harley, Laura, 39. 

Harrington, James, 154, 179. 

Harvey, Lady, 206 note. 

Heathcote, Dr. Ralph, 238. 

Helvetius, 217. 

Henry IV. of France, 6^, 75, 85. 

Herbert, Sir Robt., 118. 

Herbert, Lord of Cherbury, 57. 

Hervey, Lord, 38, 39. 

Hill, Aaron, 203. 

Hobbes, Thomas, 57, 59, 179, 
196, 270. 

Homer, 29, 66, 67, 71, 84. 

Hooke, Theodore, 169. 

Horace, 27, 44, 105, 106 note. 

Howard, Leonard, 60. 

Howard, Mrs., 46. 

Howitt, William, 246 note, 247. 

Hume, David, vii., 176, 182, 
1 84 ; his relations with 
Rousseau, 197-202, 204 ; his 
endeavours to find a residence 
for Rousseau, 206-12 ; pro- 
cures him a pension, 212-3 ; 
and a residence, 215-6; the 
scene with Rousseau at his 
lodgings before leaving for 
Wooton and the incidents 
leading up to it, 216-21 ; 
Rousseau's suspicions of him, 
222 ; their quarrel and the 
incidents leading up to it, 
224-9 ; his innocence, 230-1 ; 
his indignation, 232 ; stir 



INDEX 



285 



caused by the quarrel, 233 ; 
publishes an explanatory 
pamphlet, 235-6 ; vindicated, 
236 ; congratulated, 237-8 ; 
correspondences on the con- 
troversy, 238-41, 242-3, 250, 
25s 7ioie, 259, 262, 264, 265, 
267. 

Jallasson, Samuel, 62. 

James II., 13, 133. 

Jesse, J. Heneage, 169 note. 

Jessop, Edmund, his letter to 
Rousseau, 255. 

Johnson, Samuel, 20, 28 note, 40 ; 
on Voltaire's offensive talk, 44, 
65, 207 ; on Rousseau, 214. 

Journal de Paris, 257 note. 

Jusserand, J. J., 9 note, Ji note. 

Keate, George, 108. 

Keith, George, Lord, 187, 193, 
196, 197, 199, 212, 216, 233, 
242, 245. 

Kent, William, his new horti- 
culture, 172-3. 

Kildare, Lady, 213, 245. 

Kings tone, Capt., 273. 

Kinski, Count, 140. 

Knowles, his Life of Fuseli, 238 
yiote. 

Knox, John, 125. 

La Boine, 162. 

Laboulaye, Editor of Montes- 
quieu, 118 note, 123 note, 135 
note, 139 yiote, 155 note, 156 
note; Montesquieu, 157 note, 
159 note, 163 note, 175 note, 
176 note. 

La Bruyire, 125. 

Laine, Honorat, 131, 132. 

Laine, Joachim, 131. 

Laliand, M., 243 note. 



Lanfrey, G. F., on Voltaire's 
visit to England (on Les Lettres 

Anglaises), 97. 
La Rochefoucauld, 168. 
Latapie, 129, 130, 131, 132. 
Latour, Mme., 201 note. 
Lature, 186 note. 
Le Blanc Abbe, 108. 
Le Conoreur Adrienne, 52, 53. 
Lee, Nathaniel, 94, loi. 
Leibnitz, 57. 
Lepel, Molly, t,%, 39. 
Le Sage, 125. 
le Vasseur Therese, 186, 187, 

191, 207, 209, 211, 217, 219, 

220, 221, 243, 244, 247, 248, 

251, 252, 261. 
L'Eveille, 173. 
Lloyd's Evening News, 226. 
Locke, John, 51, 57; Voltaire's 

high opinion of, 59, 179, 196, 

230, 270. 
London Chronicle, 194, 202, 205 

note, 209, 223, 226, 237, 238 

note, 241, 252, 253 note, 260. 
London Gazette, 7. 
London Magazine, on Rousseau, 

202-3, 209, 237, 256 note. 
Longchamp and Wagniere, 75. 
Longinus, 64. 
Louis XIV., 127. 
Louis XV., 74, 127. 
Lounsbury, Prof., 99 and note. 
Lovat, Simon, Lord, 16. 
Luberdo, Josias, 66. 
Lucan, 64. 
Luther, Martin, 62- 
Lyttelton, George, Lord, 104. 
Lyttelton, Lord, 104 note. 

Malebranche, 180. 
Malesherbes, 221 note, 225, 244. 
Mallet du Pan, 195. 
Mandeville, Bernard de, 180. 



286 



INDEX 



Marlborough, Duke of, i6o, 170. 
Marlborough, Sarah, Duchess of, 

169 ; stories of, 36-8, 94. 
Martin, Airne, 131. 
Maty, Dr., 46 7iote, 117. 
Maurepas, 5 note, 55 note, 126. 
Mead, Dr., 34. 
" Medina," 24, 278. 
Mercier Abbe, 42. 
Mignot, Mme., 25. 
Milton, John, 30, 31 ; Voltaire's 

admiration of, 64-5, 66 note, 

21, 72, 99, 102, 106, 196, 268, 

270. 
Mirabeau, Marquis de, 249 note. 
Mitchell, Andrew, 159. 
Mohere, 18. 

Molyneux, Lady Bell, 156. 
Montague, Duke of, 159, 160, 

168, 169. 
Montague, Lady Mary Wortley, 

53- 
Montaigne, Michael, 122, 180. 

Montesquieu, Baron Albert de, 
129, 132. 

Montesquieu, Baron, Charles 
Louis de, 118, 119, 130, 131. 

Montesquieu, Jean Baptiste de, 
129, 130, 131. 

Montesquieu, Charles Louis de 
Secondat, v., vi. ; scanty 
material to throw light on 
his visit in England, 11 8-9; 
Vian's Histoire de Montes- 
quieu, 1 19-21 ; his birth and 
early career, 12 1-2 ; his thirst 
for knowledge, 123 ; his Lettres 
Persanes, 124-6 ; his Temple 
de Guide, 126; his rejection 
from and final election to the 
Academy, 127 ; he collects 
materials for his Esprit des 
Lois, 128-9 ; history of the 
Montesquieu manuscripts 129- 



132 ; his introduction to 
English society, 133 ; his 
meeting with Waldegrave 

133 ; his introduction to 
Chesterfield, 134; his impres- 
sion of London, 135-6 ; of 
England and the English, 
136-42 ; of the young noble- 
men, 142 ; of the state of 
religion, 142-3 ; of our con- 
stitution and government, 143; 
the low moral tone of the 



English government at that 
time, i AA-€) \ the first debate 
attended by Montesquieu, 
147-9 ; fhe debates on the 
Pension Bill, 149-52 ; the 
Dunkirk affair, 152-5 ; his 
opinion of English politicians, 
the people, and the King, 
155-6; his surprise at the 
number of newspapers, 157 ; 
remarks on the freedom of 
England, 158 ; his social 
relations, 159-60; his poor 
knowledge of the English 
tongue, 1 60- 1 ; presentation 
to Court, 161 ; his interviews 
with Queen Caroline, 160-3 ; 
elected a member of the 
Royal Society, 163 ; his 
friendship with Martin Folkes, 

164 ; with Charles Yorke, 

165 ; more opinions of the 
English, 166 ; the scant refer- 
ences to him at this time, 
166-7 ; ^"d tl^G probable 
reasons, 167-8 ; his con\dvial 
tastes, 169 ; the practical joke 
played on him by the Duke 
of Montague and his mild 
reference to it, 170-1 ; his 
opinions on the Irish ques- 
tion, 172 ; his enthusiasm for 



INDEX 



287 



Kent's new style of horti- 
culture, 172-3 ; probable date 
of his departure, 173-4 ; his 
impressions of England, 174- 
175 ; his correspondence to 
and continual interest in Eng- 
land, 175-6 ; Chesterfield's 
memorial to him, 177 ; his 
debt to England and the 
importance of his visit, 177- 
181 ; 271. 

Monthly Review, 209, 2^7, 

More, Hannah, 30 note. 

More, Sir Thomas, 180. 

Morley, John, 182, 185, 189 note, 
208, 263, 265. 

Morville, Comte de, 8, 15, 70, 72, 

73- 
Muralt, Beat De, 196. 

Napoleon, 1 19 note. 

National Review, 8 note. 

Newcastle, Duke of, 8, 169. 

Newton, Isaac, 10, 32 ; the 
history of the " falling apple " 
anecodote, 33-5, 51, 53, 57, 
58, 164, 195. 

Nicholls, John, 90 note. 

Nicolardot, 78. 

Nivernois, Due de, 217. 

Noce, M., 114. 

Notes and Queries, 29 note, 36 note. 

O'Brien, Lady Susan, 205. 
Oldfield, Anne, 52, 53, 
Oldham, John, 100. 
Otway, Thomas, loi. 
Oxford, Earl of, 50, 70. 
Ozell, John, 84. 

Paoli, General, 193. 
Parliamentary History, 147 note, 

148, I so note. 
Parnell, Thomas, 51, 102. 



Parton, James, his Life of 
Voltaire, 4, 39, 95. 

Pascal, Blaise, 17, 126, 183. 

Pelhara, Henry, 153, 173. 

Pemberton, Henry, ^^, 58. 

Pennant, Thomas, 87. 

Perry, Dr. Martin, 255 note. 

Peterborough, Lord, vii., 29, yy, 
91 and note, 107 note ; Vol- 
taire's alleged disgraceful 
treatment of, iio-i, 112, 274. 

Peyrou, Du, 200, 222 note, 225, 
242, 24s, 250, 251, 263, 265, 
268 note. 

Philipps, Ambrose, 51. 

Pitt, Andrew, 48, 60. 

Plato, 180. 

PoUnitz, Count, innate, 14 note, 
82 note, 95, 135 note, 139 note. 

Pope, Alexander, 2 ; ihis ignor- 
ance of French, 19 ; Voltaire's 
first interview with, 20-1-2 ; 
Voltaire's enthusiasm over his 
poetry, 27 ; the accident to, 
28, 38, 40, 41, 43, 44, 51, 78, 
84, 91, 105, 106; Voltaire's 
final interview with, 112-3, 
160, 172, 180, 196, 271, 274. 

Pope, Mrs. Alex., 20, 44. 

Poree, Pere, 86 note. 

Portland, Duchess of, 245. 

Poyntz, 154 note. 

Prevost, The Abbe, 79, 80, 81, 
109, 271. 

Prior, Matthew, 51, 102. 

Prussia, King of, 193, 200, 217, 
218, 223. ' 

Pulteney, William, 146 note. 

Rabelais, FranQois, 103. 
Racine, 18, 52, 72, 162. 
Rapin de Thoyras, 179. 
Read, General Meredith, 262 

note. 



288 



INDEX 



Remusat, Charles, on Voltaire's 
visit to England, 2-3. 

Rianecourt, Mile., 234. 

Riccoboni, Mme., 233, 234, 237. 

Richardson, Samuel, 196, 268, 
270. 

Richelieu, Cardinal, 127. 

Richmond, Duke of, 159, 162, 
168, 169, 228, 245. 

Robinson, Mrs., 273. 

Rochester, Earl of, 56, 100. 

Rogers, Rogers, 209 note. 

Roscommon, Earl of, 100. 

Rousseau, F. H., 225, 250. 

Rousseau, Jean Jacques, v., vi., 
vii., 167 ; his visit to Eng- 
land the turning-point of his 
life, 182-5 J incidents leading 
up to his visit, 186-93 ; the 
high esteem held for him in 
England before his visit, 194-5; 
his acquaintance with English 
writers, 196 ; Lord Keith's 
hospitality, 196 ; Hume's 
kindness to him, 197 ; reasons 
for his delay in coming, 198-9 ; 
his meeting with Hume in 
Paris, 200 ; his departure 
thence and arrival at Dover, 
201-2 ; he becomes the rage, 
203 ; Garrick entertains him, 
203-5 ; his appearance and 
behaviour, 205-6 ; Hume's 
endeavours to find him a 
residence, 207-12 ; Hume pro- 
cures him a pension, 212-3 ' 
opinions of him, 213-4; he 
at last obtains a residence, 
215-6 ; the scene with Hume 
and the incidents leading up 
to it, 216-21 ; Walpole's con- 
cocted letter, 218 ; arrival 
at Wooton, 221 ; his sus- 
picions of Hume, 222 ; pub- 



lication of the forged letter, 
223 ; he considers himself 
the victim of a plot, 225 ; 
malicious notices wrongfully 
attributed to Hume, 226-7 '■> 
Hume unconscious of this 
urges on the pension, 228-9 ; 
the quarrel breaks out, 229 ; 
innocence and indignation of 
Hume, 230-2 ; sensation 
caused by this quarrel, 233 ; 
Adam Smith's letter to Hume, 
233-4 ; Hume advised to 
justify himself, 234 ; Hume 
publishes his pamphlet, 235-6; 
correspondence and general 
opinions on the controversy, 
237-41 ; R. circulates his 
version of the affair, 242-3 ; 
life at Wooton, 243-6 ; writes 
his Confessions, 246 ; tradi- 
tions of him at Wooton, 
247-8 ; unpleasantness with 
Davenport, 248-9 ; insanity 
coming on, 250-1; his de- 
parture from Wooton, 252 ; 
his letter to Davenport, 253 ; 
imagines his life in danger, 
254 ; his letter to Mr. Jessop, 
255-6 ; his arrival at Dover, 
257 ; his panic-stricken letter 
to General Conway, 258-60; 
departure from England, 260; 
possible reasons for quitting 
Wooton, 260-2 ; analysis of 
his temperament, 262-5 ; the 
unfailing kindness with which 
he was treated, 266-7 ; the 
unfavourable contrast between 
his visit and Voltaire's, 267-8 ; 
his wearisome and egotistical 
correspondence, 269 ; influ- 
ence of English writers on 
him, 269-71. 



INDEX 



289 



Ruffhead, Owen, his account of 
Voltaire's first interview with 
Pope, 20-1 ; his story of 
Voltaire's treachery, 39-41 ; 
on Voltaire's offensive talk, 
44 ; on Voltaire's final intei"- 
view with Pope, 112-3. 

Rutherford, Mr. Henry, vii., 91, 
1 12 note. 

Rutledge, J. J., his Eloge on 
Montesquieu, 174, 179. 

Saint Lambert, 193. 

Sandys, Samuel, 149. 

Saussura, Cesar de, 47 noie, 135 

note. 
Shaftesbury, 180. 
Shakespeare, William, 10, 94, 

96 ; influence of, on Voltaire, 

98-9, I02, 106, 161, 162, 

268. 
Sheffield, Thomas, 100. 
Sherlock, Martin, 63 note, 108. 
Shippen, William, on the need- 

lessness of keeping up an 

army, 147-8. 
Sidney, Algernon, 179, 196, 270. 
Sieveking, Mr. Forbes, vii., 277. 
Simon and Benezet, 70. 
Singer, S. W., 68 note, 166 note. 
Sloane, Sir Hans, 61. 
Smith, Adam, his advice to 

Hume, 233-4, 262, 263. 
Sorel, Albert, 124, 175. 
Southwell, Lord, 82 note. 
Spectator, 270. 
Spence, Joseph, 19 note, 42 

note, 68, 166. 
Spenser, Edmund, 99, 106. 
Stair, Lord, 45. 
Stanhope, Lord, 177 note. 
Stanislaus, King, 16. 
Stanley, Mr., 210. 
Steele, Sir Richard, $ i 



Stepney, George, 51. 

Sterne, Laurence, 262. 

St. Hyacinthe, 83. 

St. James's Chronicle, 223, 224 
noie, 225 noie, 237, 238 note, 
239, 240 note. 

Stow, John, 180. 

Strafford, Lord, 245. 

Streckeisen-Moultou, 223 note, 
227. 

Stukely, Dr., 34. 

Suard, 235. 

Suffolk, Countess of, 46. 

Sundon, Lady, 39, 46. 

Swift, Jonathan, 2, 27 ; Vol- 
taire's intimacy with, 29, 40, 
43.63,69, 70; Voltaire's high 
estimate of, 103, 183, 190, 
208. 

Tacitus, 49, 125. 

Tasso Torquato, 64, 263. 

Taylor, John, 82 note. 

Texte, M. Joseph, 195 noie, 196 
note, 270. 

Thieriot, 5, 21, 23 and noie, 
24, 26, 27, 28 noie, 39, 41, 
47, 54 and note, 55 note, 58, 70, 
71 noie, 72 noie, 78, 82, 86, 
96, 103, 108, 113, 114 note, 
277. 

Thomson, James, 15 ; Voltaire 
on, 104-5. 

Tickell, Thomas, 51. 

Towne,Dr., vii.,90, 107 note, 11 1, 

273- 
Towne, Richard, 90, 91. 
Townshend, Lord, 50, 150. 
Townshend, Mr. and Mrs., 211. 
Toynbee, Mrs., 43 note. 
Tronchin, Jean Robert, 18S, 

189, 195, 219, 225, 230. 
Troublet, Abbe, 241. 
Turgot, 234, 267 note. 



19 



290 



INDEX 



Turner, Edmund, 34, 35. 
Turretin, Alphonse, 195. 

Universal Spectator, 1 34. 

Vanburgh, Sir John, loi. 

Van Muyden, Madame, 14. 

Vernes, Pastor, 189. 

Vian, M., his Historie de Mon- 
tesquieu, 1 19-21, 174. 

Villars, Marquess of, 280. 

Villemain, Abel Francois, 180. 

Virgil, 64, 67. 

Voiture, 100. 

Voltaire, v., vii. ; importance of 
his visit to England, i ; 
obscurity of this part of 
his life, 2-3 ; Desnoiresterres 
researches, 3-4 ; his arrival 
in England, 4-12 ; his intro- 
duction to society, 12-14 ; 
his introduction to Boling- 
broke, 14 ; to Bubb Doding- 
ton, 15 ; to Everard Falk- 
ener, 16-17 5 his acquaint- 
ance with English on his 
arrival, 17-18 ; his previous 
acquaintance with Pope, 19 ; 
his first interview with Pope, 
20-22 ; his secret voyage 
back to France, 22-3 ; his 
misfortunes on his return to 
England, 24-6 ; his enthusi- 
asm of Pope, 27 ; his life with 
Falkener, 27-8 ; he meets 
Swift, 29 ; and Young, 30 ; 
discussion on Paradise Lost, 
30-1 ; his letter on the free- 
dom of England, 32 ; his 
presence at Sir Isaac Newton's 
funeral, 32 ; our indebted- 
ness to him for the tradition 
of " the falling apple," 33-5 ; 
his meeting with Gay, 36 ; 



and Congreve, 36 ; his intro- 
duction to the Dowager 
Duchess of Marlborough, 36- 
■^2, ; his acquaintance with 
Molly Lepel, and the verses 
addressed to her, 38 ; subse- 
quent history of the verses, 
39 ; the curious story of his 
treachery, 39-41 ; his double 
dealing and insincerity gener- 
ally, 42-3 ; his offensive be- 
haviour, 44 ; his presenta- 
tion to Court, 44-5 ; and to 
the " opposition " court, 46- 
47 ; his acquaintance with 
Andrew Pitt, 48 ; his com- 
ments on our religious sects, 
our government, 49-50 ; his 
vindication of the dignity of 
trade, 50-1 ; his comparison 
of the homage paid to genius 
in England to that in France, 
51-2; on horse-racing, 53; 
his permission to visit France 
probably not acted upon, 
53-5 ; his commonplace book, 
55-6 ; his acquaintance with 
Dr. Samuel Clarke, 57 ; and 
with Dr. Henry Pemberton, 

58 ; his admiration of Locke, 

59 ; his acquaintance with 
Bacon, 59 ; his remarks on 
Berkeley's treatise, 60 ; his 
interest in natural science, 
60-1 ; and in the controversy 
between the opponents and 
upholders of Christianity, 
61-2 ; his " Essay upon the 
Civil Wars in France," 62- 
64 ; his " Essay upon Epic 
Poetry," 64-7 ; his mastery 
of the English language, 67 ; 
and the doubts thrust upon 
it, 68 ; his removal from 



INDEX 



291 



Wandsworth to London, 69 ; 
his correspondence at this 
period, 70 ; the elaborate 
"puff" to his Henriade, 71 ; 
his request for subscriptions, 
72 ; pubhcation of Henriade, 
74-5 ; his gratitude for its 
success, 76 ; its enormous 
success, 77-8 ; his contro- 
versy with Prevost, 79-81 ; 
his annoyance at the ex- 
penses of Uving in society, 
82 ; the incident of the 
opening hnes of Henriade, 
83-4 ; criticisms on the poem, 
84-6 ; his unpleasant ad- 
ventures, 87-9 ; his letters 
to Dr. Towne, 90-3 ; his 
Brutus, 94-5 ; his Mort de 
Cesar, 96 ; his Letters con- 
cerning the English Nation, 
96-7 ; his attempt to open a 
French theatre in London, 
98 ; influence of Shakespeare 
on, 98-9 ; his ignorance of 
Chaucer and the Elizabethan 
writers, 90 ; his knowledge 
of Milton and Dryden, 99- 
100 ; and of the minor poets, 

100 ; and of Wycherley, Con- 
greve, and Vanburgh, loi ; 
his admiration of Hudibras, 

1 01 ; and of Addison's Cato, 
102-3 ; -J?is enthusiasm of 
Swift, 103 ; his acquaintance 
with Thomson, 104-5 J his 
admiration of Pope, 105- 
106 ; his general criticism on 
English poetry, 106-7 ; pre- 
parations for his departure, 
107-9 ; his alleged disgraceful 
treatment of Lord Peter- 
borough, I TO- 1 ; his final inter- 
view with Pope, 1 1 2-3; 



probable date of his depart- 
ure, 1 1 3-4 ; effects of his 
visit, 1 14-6, 117, 167, 180, 
189, 19s, 196, 201, 225, 226, 
230, 238, 240, 241, 264; 
comparison with Rousseau 
267-8, 271, 274, 275, 277. 

Wagniere, 88. 

Waldegrave, Lord, 120, 128, 
133, 134, 166. 

Wallace, Robert, 165. 

Waller, Edmund, 100. 

Walpole, Horatio, the elder, his 
letter to the Duke of New- 
castle, 8, 15. 

Walpole, Horace, his Short Notes, 
43 note ; Voltaire's letter to, 
98, 154, 168, 206; concocts a 
letter to Rousseau, 217; the 
concocted letter, 218 tiote ; 
story of the hoax, ib., 225, 
233 ; his pamphlet on the 
Rousseau and Hume quarrel, 
238, 240, 241, 264. 

Walpole, Sir Robert, 40 ; Voltaire 
visits him, 41 ; his administra- 
tion, and Montesquieu's re- 
marks on, 144-50, 152, 153, 
155, 160. 

Warburton, Bishop, 41, 113 
note, i6r, 165, 176. 

Warton, Joseph, 66. 

Webb, Col., 211. 

Weekly Medley, 18 note, 167. 

Whiston, William, 33, 143. 

White, Blanco, 67. 

Wilkes, John, calls on Rousseau, 
203. 

Wood, Robert, 237. 

Woodman et Lyon, 85. 

Woolston, Thomas, 57, 61, 62. 

Wright, Joseph, of Derby, vii., 
1S5, 269. 



292 



INDEX 



Wurtemberg, Prince of, 193. 
Wycherley, William, loi. 
Wyndham, Sir William, 153, 155. 

Ximenes, Marquis de, 226. 

Yonge, Sir Wm., 147. 
York, Duke of, 203. 



Yorke, Charles, 159, 161, 165, 
169. 

Young, Edward, 1 5 ; his meeting 
with Voltaire, 30 ; his epi- 
gram on Voltaire, 31, 42 ; 
Voltaire consults him, 68. 

Zevort, M., 120 note, 173. 



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