1694-1778 Voltaire.

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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES

GIFT OF

FREDERIC THOMAS BLANCHARD

FOR THE
ENGLISH READING ROOM



THE POETRY ^7F KERTiJ

wr- If. 1 '/I.', '




The WORKS of VOLTAIRE

EDITION DE LA PACIFICATION

Limited to one thousand sets
for America and Great Britain.



"Between two servants of Humanity, who appeared
eighteen hundred years apart, there is a mysterious relation*

* * * Let us say it with a sentiment of
profound respect: JESUS WEPT: VOLTAIRE SMILED.
Of that divine tear and of that human smile is composed the
sweetness of the present civilization."

VICTOR HUGO.



THALIA



EDITION DE LA PACIFICATION



THE WORKS OF

VO LTAI RE



A CONTEMPORARY VERSION

WITH NOTES BY TOBIAS SMOLLETT, REVISED AND MODERNIZED

NEW TRANSLATIONS BY WILLIAM F. FLEMING, AND AN

INTRODUCTION BY OLIVER H. G. LEIGH



A CRITIQUE AND BIOGRAPHY
BY

THE RT. HON. JOHN MORLEY

FORTY-THREE VOLUMES

ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-EIGHT DESIGNS, COMPRISING REPRODUCTIONS

OF KARB OLD ENGRAVINGS, STEEL PLATES, PHOTOGRAVURES,

AND CURIOUS FAC-SIMILES



VOLUME XXXIX



E. R. DuMONT

PARIS : LONDON : NEW YORK : CHICAGO



COPYRIGHT 1901
BY E. R. DUMONT

OWNED BY

THE WERNER COMPANT
AKRON, OHIO



WADE BY

THE WERNER COMPANY
AKRON, OHIO



VOLTAIRE



SHORT STUDIES IN ENGLISH AND
AMERICAN SUBJECTS



Voltaire recorded his views upon the English people and
government in a series of " Philosophic Letters," which
were published in France and in England in 1733. Accord-
ing to Parton, Lafayette declared that it was his reading of
these letters that made him a republican at nine years of
age, and to them Rousseau "attributed in great measure the
awakening of his late-maturing intelligence." The author
had to tone the letters down to get them passed by the
censor. His praise of English liberty of thought and speech
even then proved too irritating to the authorities. The book
was denounced as heretical, in May, 1734. Every known
copy was confiscated. The publisher was sent to the Bas-
tille; a lettre de cachet was issued against the author; his
house was searched, and the Parliament of Paris had the
book publicly burned by the executioner. A few later
pieces have been included here.



CONTENTS



PAGE

THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT .... 5

THE ENGLISH CONSTITUTION . . 9

ENGLISH COMMERCE 16

INOCULATION . . . . . . 19

CHANCELLOR BACON 27

LOCKE 33

SUICIDE 39

ENGLISH TRAGEDY 44

ENGLISH COMEDY 52

LEARNED COURTIERS <. . . 75

ROCHESTER AND WALLER . . . . 77

PRIOR, BUTLER, AND SWIFT .... 82

POPE 93

THE LEARNED SOCIETIES .... 96

CROMWELL ....... 103

THE MISFORTUNES OF CHARLES I. . . in
ENGLAND 'UNDER CHARLES II. . . .114

THE ENGLISH THEATRE . . . .122

HAMLET ..... '"7' . 124

THE ORPHAN ...... 140

REVOLUTIONS IN THE TRAGIC ART . . 151



iv Contents.

ON TRAGEDY 174

THE RELIGION OF THE QUAKERS . , .192
THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND . . . ,212

THE PRESBYTERIANS 216

THE ANTI-TRINITARIANS . . . .219

THE PEOPLING OF AMERICA .... 222

THE CONQUEST OF PERU .... 234

THE NEGRO ....... 240

THE FRENCH IN AMERICA .... 242

THE FRENCH ISLANDS 251

THE ENGLISH AND DUTCH POSSESSIONS . 260
PARAGUAY ....... 269

THE CHANGES IN OUR GLOBE . . . 279



LIST OF PLATES
VOL. XXXIX



I'AGE



IHALIA Frontispiece

ALEXANDER POPE 92

LORD BOLINGBROKE 174

WILLIAM PENN . . .210



SHORT STUDIES ON ENGLISH
TOPICS.

WITH NOTES ON THE PEOPLING OF AMERICA.



THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT.

THE MEMBERS of the English Parliament are
fond of comparing themselves, on all occasions, to
the old Romans.

Not long since, Mr. Shippen opened a speech in
the house of commons with these words : "The maj-
esty of the people of England would be wounded."
The singularity of this expression occasioned a loud
laugh; but this gentleman, far from being discon-
certed, repeated the statement with a resolute tone
of voice, and the laugh ceased. I must own, I see
no resemblance between the majesty of the people
of England and that of the Romans, and still less
between the two governments. There is in London
a senate, some of the members whereof are accused
doubtless very unjustly of selling their votes, on
certain occasions, as was done at Rome ; and herein
lies the whole resemblance. In other respects, the
two nations appear to be quite opposite in character,
with regard both to good and to evil. The Romans
never knew the terrible madness of religious wars.
This abomination was reserved for devout preachers



6 Short Studies.

of patience and humility. Harms and Sulla, Caesar
and Pompey, Antony and Augustus, did not draw
their swords against one another to determine
whether the flamen should wear his shirt over his
robe, or his robe over his shirt; or whether the
sacred chickens should both eat and drink, or eat
only, in order to take the augury. The English
have formerly destroyed one another, by sword or
halter, for disputes of as trifling a nature. The
Episcopalians and the Presbyterians quite turned the
heads of these gloomy people for a time ; but I be-
lieve they will hardly be so silly again, as they seem
to have grown wiser at their own expense; and I
do not perceive the least inclination in them to mur-
der one another any more for mere syllogisms. But
who can answer for the follies and prejudices of
mankind ?

Here follows a more essential difference between
Rome and England, which throws the advantage en-
tirely on the side of the latter; namely, that the
civil wars of Rome ended in slavery, and those of
the English in liberty. The English are the only
people on earth who have been able to prescribe
limits to the power of kings by resisting them, and
who, by a series of struggles, have at length estab-
lished that wise and happy form of government
where the prince is all-powerful to do good, and at
the same time is restrained from committing evil;
where the nobles are great without insolence or
lordly power, and the people share in the govern-
ment without confusion.



The English Parliament. 7

The house of lords and the house of commons
divide the legislative power under the king ; but the
Romans had no such balance. Their patricians and
plebeians were continually at variance, without any
intermediate power to reconcile them. The Roman
senate, who were so unjustly, so criminally, formed
as to exclude the plebeians from having any share
in the affairs of government, could find no other
artifice to effect their design than to employ them in
foreign wars. They considered the people as wild
beasts, whom they were to let loose upon their
neighbors, for fear they should turn upon their mas-
ters. Thus the greatest defect in the government of
the Romans was the means of making them con-
querors ; and, by being unhappy at home, they be-
came masters of the world, till in the end their divi-
sions sank them into slavery.

The government of England, from its nature, can
never attain to so exalted a pitch, nor can it ever
have so fatal an end. It has not in view the splen-
did folly of making conquests, but only the pre-
vention of their neighbors from conquering. The
English are jealous not only of their own liberty,
but even of that of other nations. The only reason
of their quarrels with Louis XIV. was on account
of his ambition.

It has not been without some difficulty that lib-
erty has been established in England, and the idol
of arbitrary power has been drowned in seas of
blood ; nevertheless, the English do not think they
have purchased their laws at too high a price. Other



8 Short Studies.

nations have shed as much blood; but then the
blood they spilled in defence of their liberty served
only to enslave them the more.

That which rises to a revolution in England is
no more than a sedition in other countries. A city
in Spain, in Barbary, or in Turkey takes up arms
in defence of its privileges, when immediately it is
stormed by mercenary troops, it is punished by ex-
ecutioners, and the rest of the nation kiss their
chains. The French think that the government of
this island is more tempestuous than the seas which
surround it; in which, indeed, they are not mis-
taken: but then this happens only when the king
raises the storm by attempting to seize the ship, of
which he is only the pilot. The civil wars of France
lasted longer, were more cruel, and productive of
greater evils, than those of England: but none of
these civil wars had a wise and becoming liberty for
their object.

In the detestable times of Charles IX. and Henry
III. the whole affair was only, whether the people
should be slaves to the Guises. As to the last war
of Paris, it deserves only to be hooted at. It makes
us think we see a crowd of schoolboys rising up in
arms against their master, and afterward being
whipped for it. Cardinal de Retz, who was witty
and brave, but employed those talents badly; who
was rebellious without cause, factious without de-
sign, and the head of a defenceless party, caballed
for the sake of caballing, and seemed to foment the
civil war for his own amusement and pastime. The
parliament did not know what he aimed at, nor what



The English Constitution. 9

he did not aim at. He levied troops, and the next
instant cashiered them ; he threatened ; he begged
pardon ; he set a price on Cardinal Mazarin's head,
and afterward congratulated him in a public man-
ner. Our civil wars under Charles VI. were- bloody
and cruel, those of the League execrable, and that
of the Frondeurs ridiculous.

That for which the French chiefly reproach the
English nation is the murder of King Charles I., a
prince who merited a better fate, and whom his sub-
jects treated just as he would have treated them,
had he been powerful and at ease. After all, con-
sider, on one side, Charles I. defeated in a pitched
battle, imprisoned, tried, sentenced to die in West-
minster Hall, and then beheaded ; and, on the other,
the emperor Henry VII. poisoned by his chaplain in
receiving the sacrament ; Henry III. of France
stabbed by a monk ; thirty different plots contrived
to assassinate Henry IV., several of them put into
execution, and the last depriving that great monarch
of his life. Weigh, I say, all these wicked attempts,
and then judge.



THE ENGLISH CONSTITUTION.

THIS mixture of different departments in the
government of England ; this harmony between the
king, lords, and commons has not always subsisted.
England was for a long time in a state of slavery,
having, at different periods, worn the yoke of the
Romans, Saxons, Danes, and, last of all, the Nor-
mans. William the Conqueror, in particular, gov-



IO Short Studies.

erned them with a rod of iron. He disposed of the
goods and lives of his new subjects like an eastern
tyrant : he forbade, under pain of death, any Eng-
lishman to have either fire or light in his house after
eight o'clock at night, whether it was that he in-
tended by this edict to prevent their holding any
assemblies in the night, or, by so whimsical a pro-
hibition, had a mind to try to what a degree of ab-
jectness men might be subjected by their fellow-
creatures. It is, however, certain that the English
had parliaments both before and since the time of
William the Conqueror ; they still boast of them, as
if the assemblies which then bore the title of parlia-
ments, and which were composed of the ecclesias-
tical tyrants and the barons, had been actually the
guardians of their liberties, and the preservers of the
public felicity.

These barbarians, who poured like a torrent from
the shores of the Baltic and overran all the east of
Europe, brought the use of these estates or parlia-
ments, which are the subject of so much noise,
though very little known, along with them. It is
true, kings were not then despotic, which is pre-
cisely the reason why the people groaned under so
intolerable a yoke. The chiefs of those barbarians
who had ravaged France, Italy, Spain, and England,
made themselves monarchs. Their captains divided
and shared with them the lands of the conquered:
hence those margraves, lairds, barons, with all that
gang of petty tyrants who have often disputed with
sovereigns who were not firmly fixed on their
thrones the spoils and plunder of the people. It was



The English Constitution. n

so many birds of prey fighting with an eagle, that
they might suck the blood of the doves ; and every
nation, instead of having one good and indulgent
master, which might have been their lot, had a hun-
dred of those blood-sucking monsters. Shortly
after, priestcraft began to mingle in civil matters ;
from earliest antiquity, the fate of the Gauls, Ger-
mans, and inhabitants of Great Britain depended on
the Druids, and on the heads of their villages, an
ancient kind of barons, though a less tyrannical sort
than their predecessors. These Druids called them-
selves mediators between men and the Deity : it was
they who made laws, excommunicated, and, lastly,
punished criminals with death. The bishops suc-
ceeded by imperceptible degrees to their temporal
authority in the Gothic and Vandal government.
The popes put themselves at their head, and with
their briefs, bulls, and their other more mischievous
instruments, the monks, made kings tremble on their
thrones, deposed or assassinated them at pleasure,
and, in a word, drew to themselves all the treasure
of Europe. The weak Ina, one of the tyrants of the
Saxon heptarchy, was the first who, in a pilgrimage
which he made to Rome, submitted to pay "Peter's
pence" about a French crown, or half a crown
sterling for every house in his kingdom. The
whole island presently followed this example ; Eng-
land became insensibly a province to the pope ; and
the holy father sent thither, from time to time, his
legates to levy extraordinary impositions. At last
John, surnamed Sans Terre, or Lackland, made a
formal cession of his kingdom to his holiness, who



12 Short Studies.

had excommunicated him. The barons, who were
by no means gainers by this proceeding, expelled
this wretched prince, and set up in his place Louis
VIII., father of St. Louis, king of France ; but they
were presently disgusted with this new monarch,
and compelled him to cross the seas again.

While the barons, with the bishops and popes,
were tearing all England to pieces, where each . of
them would fain have ruled, the people, that is to
say, the most numerous, the most useful, and even
the most virtuous part of mankind, composed of
those who addict themselves to the study of the
laws and of the sciences, of merchants, mechanics,
and, in a word, of laborers, that first and most de-
spised of all professions; the people, I say, were
considered by them as animals of a nature inferior
to the rest of the human species. The commons
were then far from enjoying the least share in the
government ; they were then villeins or slaves, whose
labor, and even whose blood, was the property of
their masters, who called themselves the nobility.
Far the greatest part of the human species were in
Europe as they still are in several parts of the
world the slaves of some lord, and at best but a
kind of cattle, which they bought and sold with their
lands. It was the work of ages to render justice to
humanity, and to find out what a horrible thing it
was, that the many should sow while a few did reap :
and is it not the greatest happiness for the French,
that the authority of those petty tyrants has been
extinguished by the lawful authority of our sov-



The English Constitution. 13

ereign, and in England by that of the king and na-
tion conjointly?

Happily, in those shocks which the quarrels of
kings and great men gave to empires, the chains of
nations have been relaxed more or less. Liberty in
England has arisen from the quarrels of tyrants.
The barons forced John Sans Terre and Henry III.
to grant that famous charter, the principal scope of
which was in fact to make kings dependent on the
lords ; but, at the same time, the rest of the nation
were favored, that they might side with their pre-
tended protectors. This great charter, which is
looked upon as the palladium and the consecrated
fountain of the public liberty, is itself a proof how
little that liberty was understood: the very title
shows beyond all doubt that the king thought him-
self absolute, de jure ; and that the barons, and even
the clergy, forced him to relinquish this pretended
right, only because they were stronger than he. It
begins in this manner : "We, of our free will, grant
the following privileges to the archbishops, bishops,
abbots, priors, and barons of our kingdom," etc. In
the articles of this charter there is not one word said
of the house of commons; a proof that no such
house then existed ; or, if it did, that its power was
next to nothing. In this the free men of England
are specified a melancholy proof that there were
then some who were not so. We see, by the thirty-
second article, that those pretended free men owed
their lords certain servitude. Such a liberty as this
smelled very rank of slavery. By the twenty-first



14 Short Studies.

article, the king ordains, that from henceforth offi-
cers shall be restrained from forcibly seizing the
horses and carriages of free men, except on paying
for the same. This regulation was considered by
the people as real liberty, because it destroyed a
most intolerable kind of tyranny. Henry VII., that
fortunate conqueror and politician, who pretended
to cherish the barons, whom he both feared and
hated, bethought himself of the project of alienating
their lands. By this means the villeins, who after-
ward acquired property by their industry, bought
the castles of the great lords, who had ruined them-
selves by their extravagance ; and by degrees nearly
all the estates in the kingdom changed masters.

The house of commons daily became more pow-
erful ; the families of the ancient peerage became
extinct in time; and as, in the rigor of the law,
there is no other nobility in England besides the
peers, the whole order would have been annihilated
had not the kings created new barons from time to
time ; and this expedient preserved the body of the
peers they had formerly so much dreaded, in order
to oppose the house of commons, now grown too
powerful. All the new peers, who form the upper
house, receive nothing besides their titles from the
crown; scarcely any of them possessing the lands
from which those titles are derived. The duke of
Dorset, for example, is one of them, though he pos-
sesses not a foot of land in Dorsetshire; another
may be earl of a village, who hardly knows in what
quarter of the island such a village lies. They have
only a certain power in parliament, and nowhere out



The English Constitution. 15

of it, which, with some few privileges, is all they
enjoy.

Here is no such thing as the distinction of high,
middle, and low justice in France ; nor of the right
of hunting on the lands of a citizen, who has not the
liberty of firing a single shot of a musket on his
own estate.

A peer or nobleman in this country pays his share
of the taxes as others do, all of which are regulated
by the house of commons ; which house, if it is sec-
ond only in rank, is first in point of credit. The
lords and bishops, it is true, may reject any bill of
the commons, when it regards the raising of money ;
but are not entitled to make the smallest amendment
in it : they must either pass it or throw it out, with-
out any restriction whatever. When the bill is con-
firmed by the lords, and approved by the king, then
every person is to pay his quota without distinction ;
and that not according to his rank or quality, which
would be absurd, but in proportion to his revenue.
Here is no faille, or arbitrary poll-tax, but a real tax
on lands ; all of which underwent an actual valua-
tion under the famous William III. The taxes re-
main always the same, notwithstanding the fact that
the value of lands has risen; so that no one is
stripped to the bone, nor can there be any ground of
complaint ; the feet of the peasant are not tortured
with wooden shoes ; he eats the best wheaten bread,
is well and warmly clothed, and is in no apprehen-
sion on account of the increase of his herds and
flocks, or terrified into a thatched house, instead of
a convenient slated roof, for fear of an augmentation



1 6 Short Studies.

of the taille the year following. There are even a
number of peasants, or, if you will, farmers, who
have from five to six hundred pounds sterling yearly
income, and who are not above cultivating those
fields which have enriched them, and where they
enjoy the greatest of all human blessings, liberty.



ENGLISH COMMERCE.

NEVER has any people, since the fall of Carthage,
been at the same time powerful by sea and land, till
Venice set the example. The Portuguese, from their
good fortune in discovering the passage by way of
the Cape of Good Hope, have been for some time
great lords on the coasts of the East Indies, but have
never been very respectable in Europe. Even the
United Provinces became warlike, contrary to their
natural disposition, and in spite of themselves ; and
it can in no way be ascribed to their union amoug
themselves, but to their being united with England,
that they have contributed to hold the balance in
Europe at the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Carthage, Venice, and Amsterdam were un-
doubtedly powerful ; but their conduct has been ex-
actly like that of merchants grown rich by traffic,
who afterward purchase lands with the dignity of
lordship annexed to them. Neither Carthage, Ven-
ice, nor Holland have, from a warlike and even con-
quering beginning, ende^ 1 in a commercial nation.
The English are the only people existing who have
done this ; they were a long time warriors before
they learned to cast accounts. They were entirely



English Commerce. 17

ignorant of numbers when they won the battles of
Agincourt, Crecy, and Poitiers, and were also ig-
norant that it was in their power to become corn-
factgrs and woollen-drapers, two things that would
certainly turn to much better account. This science
alone has rendered the nation at once populous,
wealthy, and powerful. London was a poor country-
town when Edward III. conquered one-half of
France ; and it is wholly owing to this that the Eng-
lish have become merchants; that London exceeds
Paris in extent, and number of inhabitants; that
they are able to equip and man two hundred sail of
ships of war, and keep the kings who are their allies
in pay. The Scottish are born warriors, and, from
the purity of their air, inherit good sense. Whence
comes it then that Scotland, under the name of a
union, has become a province of England? It is
because Scotland has scarcely any other commodity
than coal, and that England has fine tin, excellent
wool, and abounds in corn, manufactures, and trad-
ing companies.

When Louis XIV. made Italy tremble, and his
armies, already in possession of Savoy and Pied-
mont, were on the point of reducing Turin, Prince
Eugene was obliged to march from the remotest
parts of Germany to the assistance of the duke of
Savoy. He was in want of money, without which
cities can neither be taken nor defended. He had
recourse to the English merchants. In half an
hour's time they lent him five millions, with which
he effected the deliverance of Turin, beat the
French, and wrote this short note to those who had
Vol. 39 2



1 8 Short Studies.

lent him the money: "Gentlemen, I have received
your money, and flatter myself I have employed it
to your satisfaction." This gives an Englishman a
kind of pride, which is extremely well founded,* and
causes him, not without reason, to compare himself
to a citizen of Rome. Thus the younger son of a
peer of the realm is not above traffic. Lord Town-
shend, secretary of state, has a brother who is satis-
fied with being a merchant in the city. At the time
when Lord Oxford ruled all England, his younger
brother was a factor at Aleppo, whence he could
never be prevailed on to return, and where he died.
This custom, which is now unhappily dying out, ap-
pears monstrous to a German, whose head is full of
the coats of arms and pageants of his family. They
can never conceive how it is possible that the son of
an English peer should be no more than a rich and
powerful citizen, while in Germany they are all
princes. I have known more than thirty highnesses
of the same name, whose whole fortunes and estate
put together amounted to a few coats of arms, and
the starving pride they inherited from their ances-
tors.

In France everybody is a marquis; and a man


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