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organization, and therefore is unfit to den to concern itself with the business be intrusted with the work of govern- of administration. It is faithful only ment. Hostile to the Union from its to itself, and such selfish fidelity comorigin, and from the character of its pels it to be false to the nation in which principles, it should be relegated to the for years it claimed to be the sole na“cold shade” of opposition, and forbid- tional and constitutional organization.
THE 'HE eighteenth century has be- where an exact account of all of them.
queathed to us one work which Indeed, many of the numerous contribembodies in itself the spirit of the cen- utors wrote only an article or two; the tury, — that is the Encyclopédie. There Biographie Universelle probably conare, of course, other works of that epochtains all that is worth knowing of the more perfect, or nearer that perfection principal writers, and Grimm's correwhich was always the aim of its great spondence tells a thousand stories and authors. These are, however, the works anecdotes about these. D'Alembert of individual authors, and they give us and Voltaire are treated especially by only the labors of each author sepa- Brougham in his “Men of Letters and rately, while the Encyclopédie gives us Science,” but it is in a merely popular the picture of an age which was one of way. It is not easy anywhere to obtain the most important in the history of the satisfactory and direct reference to auworld. With the subsidence of the bit- thorities on the subject; but perhaps ter quarrels that characterized the pub- the lives of the three great chiefs, Vollication of the Encyclopédie, not a little taire, D'Alembert, and Diderot, cover of the popular interest in the work has all the necessary grounds of knowledge ceased. It remains, however, the in- with regard to their followers. tellectual fortress of its epoch, and al- Two new works of interest, if not of though its defenders and its besiegers authority, have appeared within this have lost much of their heat and ardor, year, and each in its way is worth atit is not because the world of letters is tention, and is sure to command it, as grown more just or more peaceful, but showing the hold which the Encyclopébecause there are new fields of battle distes still have on art and letters. on which the warlike intellects of our Fichel, the cleverest painter in the own day find plenty to try their mettle. newest school of French genre, has The Encyclopédie may well be read lately given us a capital picture, Les to-day, not for the interest of novelty Encyclopédistes, -a group of the fawhich it once possessed, but for its im- mous men of that large family, --in a portance in the history of literature and library with the furniture, dress, and philosophy.
appointments of the period. Some of There is no recent summary of the the faces are familiar to us even here, lives of the Encyclopédistes; for the - Voltaire, Diderot, D'Alembert, Rousmost part they are obscure men; and seau, Buffon, — and the others have without going as far as Lebas (Diction- also the sharp lines and speaking feanaire Encyclopédique de la France, - tures of truthful portraits. A desire forming part of Didot's Univers Pitto- to find out the unnamed persons in the resque) in depreciating them, or as far painting first caused the inquiry into as Lord Brougham in extolling them, the subject, which now takes this shape. it is doubtful whether there is any- Almost at the same time that Fichel's picture was given to the world, the clopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des Librairie Internationale in Paris pub- Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers, par une lished Les Encyclopédistes, leurs Tra- Société des Gens de Lettres. D'Alembert vaux, leurs Doctrines, et leur Influence, wrote the Preliminary Discourse, and par Pascal Duprat, a readable and
these papers give the key-note of the attractive volume of nearly two hun- work itself. But, after all, the Encyclodred pages. It tells the story of the pedists were not the discoverers of a Encyclopédie, the political and moral new world of letters and philosophy, state of France when it began, the in- in spite of their fond belief and loud cidents of its publication, and, sketch- proclamation of that fact. They were ing the authors who took part in its the last product of a long intellectual composition, explains its object and cultivation, of a gradual development plan, its general spirit, its philosophical of principles which culminated in the doctrine, its politics, its political econ- great French Revolution, and which inomy, its influence on the eighteenth cluded Church and State, politics, religcentury, and the French Revolution, ion, letters, in France, in Europe, and its opponents then and its value now. in almost the whole modern and civilAll this is done briefly, clearly, and ized world. It was a revolution which well by one of the lesser lights of began at least with Bacon, was adFrench letters, who, however, reflects vanced by Hobbes, was furthered by fairly enough the influence, powerful Locke, and was brought to its social alike for good and bad, which the En- and scientific results in France. In cyclopedists still continue to exert. that country the philosophy of Des
It is of course generally known that cartes was taught by the Jansenists, by the Encyclopédie was not a proles sine Arnauld, Pascal, and Nicole ; yet the matre, as Montesquieu vaunted, but a Church, which by its oppression limited translation and expansion of Cham- their power, was one of the first inbers's “Cyclopædia," which was note- stitutions to suffer by its gradual deworthy, simply because the title, bor- cline. The interweaving of English rowed from the Greek, was then for and French philosophy runs through a the first time applied to modern lit- long course of years and events. France erature. It had been used, for the sought in England what it wanted, what first time in the sixteenth century, by of its own strength it could never atRingelberg, in his “Cyclopædia," print- tain, -- first, philsophical culture, next, ed at Basle in 1541 ; then by Paul political principles. England received Scalich, in his “Encyclopædia,” Basle, from France the influence of some of 1599; by Martinus, in his Idea me- the greatest minds of modern philosothodicæ et brevis Encyclopædiæ sive ad phy, but each drew from the other umbratio Universitatis, Herborn, 1606; much of the doctrine which characand by Alsted, in his “Encyclopæ terized the nation for over a century. dia,” Herborn, 1620. These were all Toland, Tindal, Collins, Shaftesbury, written in Latin, each by its own sin- Wollaston, and, last and greatest of gle author, and with a limited field. all, Bolingbroke, reflected the tone and Chambers, a century later, at Dublin, temper of French philosophy, with its 1728, produced a work vastly beyond grace of style, and charm of clearness, all his predecessors in merit ; but it next best to truth. was perhaps the greatest triumph of It was in his exile at Touraine, his work, that it gained such favor as after the death of Queen Anne, that to command the labor of men like Di- Bolingbroke met Voltaire, found in derot and his brethren in the task of him intelligence and inclination, and reproducing it in French.
inspired him to become the apostle of It was in 1750 that the Prospectus, a new philosophy of pure reason. It written by Diderot, announced the pub- was Voltaire's journey to and residence lication of the first volume of the Ency- in England that brought him into close intimacy with the Freethinkers and the articles on religious questions there. About the same time, Mon- carefully avoided all theological discustesquieu made his studies in England sions. Nevertheless, they were bitterly of the English Constitution, as a attacked, and finally the publication preparation for his greater work. It
was suspended by the government. was the reverence which Voltaire saw Diderot and his associates, however, exhibited in England for Newton at knew where to look for help, and they the time of his almost royal funeral found it in the right quarter. in 1727, that led him to study New- Mme. de Châteauxroux belonged to ton's physical theories and to translate that honest and virtuous family of Nesle them into French. He felt all the which had already furnished Louis XV. more strongly from the contrast of with two mistresses, — Mme. de Mailly English liberty the weight imposed in and Mme. de Vintimille. · For four his own country by heavy despotism, years her protection proved sufficient, official corruption, the censorship, and and in that time five volumes appeared all the burdens put on intellectual in which Voltaire and the Encyclopédie freedom. He worked courageously lent each other strength. New success and steadily, for a long time alone, brought new attacks, and the Jesuits to produce some change in the phi- and the Jansenists repeated their aslosophical atmosphere of France. The saults, — the one column led by the weakening influence and the gradu- Archbishop of Paris, the other by the al decline of political and religious Advocate-General Joly de Fleury and power favored the emancipation of the Parliament. The Encyclopédie was the spirits hitherto held in check again suspended, and with it the priviNew ideas began to show themselves, lege of publication. It was made the and literature spread them throughout target for unnumbered pamphlets, and France. Authors became a power, the subject of a comedy, Les Philoand showed it by adopting the name sophes, by Palissot. Then came the of de lettres; they were almost loss of D'Alembert, and with him of a fourth estate. Literature ceased to many of the contributors. Diderot, be a pompous luxury of the great; it however, found in Voltaire an ally gave up its solemn, measured steps ; worth all that had abandoned him. it threw off the elegance and perfec- For eight years they worked together, tion at which it had hitherto always first to prepare material for future volstriven as essentials; but in becoming umes, and next to gain the privilege of light and even frivolous in form, it be- publishing them. At last, and again by came popular in itself and powerful in help of a woman, and that woman the forming public opinion, and then it king's mistress, — this time Mme. de was that the Encyclopédie was Pompadour, — the privilege was nounced.
newed, but still with a loss of some of A year's advertisement of Diderot's its earlier and exclusive rights. Howcircular produced four thousand sub- ever, in 1765 the work again began, scriptions of two hundred dollars each, and in 1771 it was completed, making - a prodigious price for the time. The seventeen volumes of text, and eleven first and second volume followed in of plates; and in 1776 and 1777 five rapid succe
ccession, and the world of let- volumes of supplement were printed, ters and philosophy was fired with the nominally, at least, in Amsterdam, and quarrels that grew out of them. The the great work was then peacefully conJesuits and the Jansenists suspended cluded. their own quarrels and joined forces to In looking over this great work, and attack a common enemy, for as such its army of authors, not much short they looked on the authors of the En- of a hundred, two names are specially cyclopédie. And yet the two volumes distinguishable, -- Diderot in all that were written with great moderation; relates to philosophy, D'Alembert in
all that relates to science. D'Alembert, by a planter; silks, by a Lyons mertoo, has the credit of having gained Vol- chant; and so in succession through taire to their aid, and from the fifth every class of articles. There was, volume on he furnished nearly all the therefore, a concert of action on the articles on literature, beginning with part of the intellect of France, an allithe word “esprit,” — tout à propos pour ance of literature and science in the se définir lui-même! But his labor did war for the truth, realizing Bacon's annot nearly end with that which was ticipation of the time when the world printed in the successive volumes: his would profit by just such men and just correspondence shows untiring zeal, in- such measures. This was, however, terest, and activity on behalf of the carried on with very irregular steps. work which in his eyes was big with The two first volumes were wisely rethe fate of the eighteenth century. strained in tone, then five volumes were Rousseau, on the other hand, wrote published under a permission which only two articles, - one on Music, the exacted a somewhat similar limitation ; other on Political Economy, and shone still the spirit of the book improved, alin neither. Montesquieu, too, appeared though its most marked features were but once ; but his works preceded and traced rather in subsidiary articles than helped to make the Encyclopédie, while in those of prime importance ; and the the Encyclopédie helped to make the boldest proposals for political and morsuccess of those writings of Rousseau al reform were conveyed in articles on which succeeded it. Buffon, too, was grammar or philology. With the eighth one of those we may call the group of volume there was almost entire liberty the first rank, who lent little but a name of speech; but the editor then in charge to the new enterprise.
has his own fears awakened, and did Of those of less importance in the not hesitate to lay a sacrilegious hand eyes of the world then, but of more use on the articles sent in. A letter of in the work, who stand together on Diderot, dated November 12, 1764, beanother level, there were Duclos, Du- rates his subordinate roundly for his fresnoy, Marmontel, Holbach, Turgot, treachery. In spite, however, of the muCondorcet, and some others of mark in tilation, the concluding volumes show their own way and time. A third group a hearty hatred of existing abuses and is made up of the theologians whose a zeal for reform, strong protests against names and writings appear in the En- prejudice, error, and injustice, and cyclopædia : put there, it has been sug- warm encouragement to every movegested, as the conquerors of Egypt, in ment looking to social, moral, or politimoving towards the Nile, put in front cal progress. The writers speak with of their army the sacred animals of greater elevation, the work takes a Egypt, — with the hope of allaying the loftier position, and in its pages can be prejudices which they could not conquer. heard the rustling of the storm that Morellet, Yvon, De Prades, and Mallet was then gathering, and was soon to were the Abbés of the Encyclopædia ; break over the devoted head of France. and later Polier, a neighbor and re- It is this that gives it to this day an cruit of Voltaire's, who claimed the importance that no literary or scientific merit of softening his theological fury merit alone could have perpetuated. and bringing his liberty of thought The persecutions that environed the within the reasonable limits of his own. Encyclopédie gave it its first success ; But the individual contributors, who the influences brought to bear upon the furnished articles on their own special king, to secure its continued publicasubjects, were among those who gave tion, gave it value in his eyes and in much of its value to the work. The those of the court; it was addressed to art of war was discussed by a professor the nobility and to the better classes, of strategy ; seamanship, by a sailor ; because there were no readers in a pubsalt-works, by a manufacturer ; sugar, lic which could not read. Its readers
were confined necessarily to the ruling convoking the Tiers État, and the three classes, and its conquests were the orders met and told their wishes. It more effective on that account. Its was again the plan, the principle, almost influence can be traced out step by the text of the Encyclopédie. In the step; the liberty in trade which it ad- midst of the Revolution the same voice vocated in 1750 was granted in 1764; could be heard, and it was that voice between 1761 and 1774 Turgot carried which triumphed over the storm, and out in the administration of Limoges brought France once more to peace, to the reforms which the Encyclopédie had industry, and to progress, material, indemanded, — new and better roads, the tellectual, political. Those who made abolition of internal tariffs, military req- and the pilot who rode the storm safely uisitions, etc., etc. In 1774, when he be- are all graduates of the school and incame minister of Louis XIV., he ap- doctrinated with the lessons of the Enplied to the kingdom those reforms which cyclopédie. Its opponents and their athe had tried in a province. The same tacks are long since forgotten, and the resistance which the ideas of the Ency- weapons with which they were overcome clopédie had met and overcome met are obsolete, but still the fact remains and overcome Turgot, but the final re- that the Encyclopédie was a powerful sult was the same. Necker, Calonne, lever with which its authors overturned and Brienne in vain sought to govern the past and raised the standard of rethe nation by other principles. The form for the future; and this it is that government appealed to the nation by gives it value even in our own day.
REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.
Lessing's Nathan the Wise. Translated die Héroïque,” whatever that may be, in
from the German by Miss ELLEN prose. Baron de Barante made a French FROTHINGHAM. I vol. 12mo. New version of it in 1823. Hermann Hirsch atYork: Leypoldt and Holt.
tempted in 1863 the same feat. Three years
ago, M. Arthur Arnould enlightened the The appearance of a new translation of Parisians by telling them they would find Lessing's master-work is another indica- the piece " very childish as a work of art. tion of the wide interest that people abroad “Modern readers,” he says, “ will be astonand at home are feeling in the man, the ished at the simplicity of this revolutionary like of whom Goethe told Eckermann the undertaking, at a time when Voltaire was world needed. The enthusiasm of his filling the whole world with his name and countrymen would seem to increase as time ideas.” M. Ernest Fontanès, in his recent goes by. There is no end of pamphlets “Christianisme Moderne," a study on Lessabout him as critic, philosopher, reformer. ing, has the honor of introducing him to the The literature created by the “Nathan” French as “the man who opened in Geralone, as summed up in Naumann's recent many new paths of religious thought ; than Catalogue raisonné, occupies with the whom no one is better fitted to meet the merest description of works one hundred taste of our people, no one better qualified and twenty-five pages. Germany's most to make the general public acquainted with eminent names are on the list of writers the problems of theology." who have devoted their talent to the inter- “Nathan the Wise ” was translated into pretation and spread of Lessing's ideas. Dutch by an unknown hand in 1780 ; into
Till lately, Lessing has been hardly better Danish, in 1799, by Rahbeck ; into Swedknown in France than here. The "Nathan" ish, in 1841 ; into Polish, in 1867 ; and into was translated there by Friedel and Bonne. Modern Greek, under the title, “The Wise ville as early as 1783. Twice it has been Old Jew of Kaliourgos." The last version adapted for the stage ; once as a versified was published in 1840. The merit of these drama in three acts; and once as a “Comé- translations does not concern us now.