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poet. But he was wholly wanting in that earnest love
of truth without which no critical verdict can command
Our respect, much less be accepted as authority. He
often pronounced judgment on books that he had not
read, or had read so imperfectly that he failed to com-
prehend their real scope and character. In the desire



that of Voltaire, I could see clearly the difference there is between a
beautiful day and a tempest. . . . You remember the Furies of
Orestes, Furiis a^itatus obiit." (See the "Nouvelle Biographic
Ge"nerale," vol. xlvi. p. 442, where Tronchin's letter is given in full.)

* Goethe goes still further, and calls him "the greatest literary
man of all time, the most astonishing creation of the Author of
Nature." (See "Nouvelle Biographic Ge'ne'rale," vol. xlvi. p. 445.)

^ Mackintosh speaks of Voltaire as one who embodied in his own
person all the wit and quickness and versatile ingenuity of a people
which surpasses other nations in these brilliant qualities. (See
" Progress of Ethical Philosophy.") It is related that Voltaire once
expressed to an Englishman a very high opinion of Haller. His com-
panion, with more frankness than good breeding, informed him that
his high regard for the Swiss philosopher was not reciprocated.
" Ah !" said he, after scarcely a moment's pause, " no doubt both of
as are very much mistaken in each other."

t " He has," says Carlyle, "the eye of a lynx ; sees deeper at the
Grst glance than any other man; but no second glance is given."
(" Essays, vol. ii.")



to display his wit, he constantly lost sight of truth.
This last fault was most conspicuously exhibited when-
ever he had occasion to assail Christianity. His ribald
jests on all sacred subjects are but too well known ; but
it is not so generally known that he was guilty of the
most reckless, unblushing falsehoods, which he uttered
with a confident assurance that often led inexperienced
readers to suppose that from his sentence there could be
no appeal. ||

Yet although his talents were confessedly of the most
diversified and rarest order, and though, in the words
of Macaulay, "of all the intellectual weapons ever used
by man, the most terrible was the mockery of Voltaire,"
we cannot regard him as a very formidable enemy of
Christianity. In discussing such questions his state-
ments were so rash, and the spirit with which he was
animated so manifest, that he could deceive only the
ignorant, or those who were willing or anxious to be
deceived. Men much inferior to him in genius (as Hume,
Gibbon, and Strauss) have proved themselves far more
dangerous adversaries to revealed religion, because their
positions have been more cautiously taken, and their
attacks, if less violent, have been made with far greater
skill, so that the fallacy of their arguments, unlike those
of Voltaire, can sometimes be detected by those only
who are accustomed to think closely, and who are, at
the same time, capable of earnest, impartial, and labo-
rious research.

It is proper to observe that the charge of atheism
which has often been brought against Voltaire, is wholly
without foundation. On the one point of belief in a
God he was consistent and unwavering, though so fickle
in almost everything else. In fact, there are to be found
in his works some of the most beautiful and admirable
arguments in favour of the existence of a God that have
ever been written. The young wits of France, whom he
had taught to ridicule almost everything sacred, turned
against him, in his later years, the same ridicule, because
he still adhered to that delusion of his early education.

In inquiring into the causes of Voltaire's extraordinary
influence upon the mind of Europe, we ought not to be
guilty of the mistake of supposing that his intellectual
gifts constituted the whole or even the principal part of
his marvellous power. However much we may attribute
to his versatile and transcendent intellect, we ought,
perhaps, to ascribe still more to the intensity as well as
extreme susceptibility of his emotional nature. It has
been justly remarked that the same general law holds
good in the moral or the social, as in the material, world,
that every body is attracted in the same proportion that
it attracts others. If Voltaire exercised a greater attract-
ive influence on the mind of Europe than any other man
of his age, it was because he felt more than any other
the influence of the age upon himself. This explains
why he not merely instructed or dazzled the minds of
his contemporaries, but won their sympathy and affec-
tion as no literary man or poet had ever done before.
The influence of his intellect and heart was all the
more powerful, because in his sentiments and ideas he
was so little elevated above the mass of his readers, that
he could exert to the fullest extent all that attractive
power which, as every one knows, is greatest when near-

Of this his reckless observations and slurs upon Shakspeare
Furnish a striking illustration. In one place he says that Shakspeare
"was but an ugly ape,"("Vtotf qu'un vilain singe") On another
occasion he calls the English dramatist "the Corneille of London,
but a great fool anywhere else," (" un grand foit cTaillfurs") But
perhaps the most extraordinary of all his absurdities is his complaint



" astonish us for their temerity, whether we attribute them to igno-
rance or effrontery. Thus, he says, for example, ' It is a decided
Tuth, whatever Abbadie may say to the contrary, that none of the
irst Fathers of the Church down to Irenjeus inclusive have quoted
any passage from the four Gospels, with which we are acquainted.'
Again he says (in the " Encyclopaedia," under the head of " Christi-
anity") that among the early Christians " fifty-four societies had fifty-
r our different gospels, all secret, like their mysteries." (I) He appears
ndeed, to have thrown out his falsehoods with utter recklessness
whenever he thought they could serve his turn, trusting that his great
name in literature, and the confident assurance with which they were
uttered, would induce the vast majority of readers to accept them
without examination, in which method of proceeding he has been
bllowed by other assailants of Christianity.



: casj; ghard; gas;'; G, H, K, guttural; N.Jiasa!: R. trilled; sasz: th as in Mir. (J^p^See Explanations, p.



VOLTAIRE



2410



VORHERR



est the object to be attracted. That marvellous suscep-
tibility of heart, of which we have spoken, not only
prompted him to those generous acts of benevolence
which constitute his one claim to true glory, but also
caused him to adopt with facility, or rather to embrace
with eagerness, the prevailing foibles and vices of his
age, which he may be said to have represented in all its
strength and in all its weakness. While the influence of
his writings doubtless contributed powerfully to accel-
erate the denouement of that mighty tragedy in France,
the first acts of which may be said to date from the
commencement of the century, if not earlier, it did not,
we believe, very materially modify the direction or
character of the great movement of which he appeared
to be the leader, but of which he was in reality scarcely
more than its most striking manifestation. He was, it
may be said, but the foremost wave in a mighty deluge,
urged on by, as well as leading, those behind. Had he
been as great morally as he was intellectually, he might
probably have impressed a very different character upon
the French Revolution. He might have fostered and
developed the spirit of liberty, without at the same time
letting loose upon society the demons of licentiousness,
of persiflage, and ofblasphemy.* But, with his vain and
fickle character.t it would have been as impossible for
him to direct such a movement steadily, wisely, and
beneficently, as it would have been to support the earth
upon his shoulders. His was no Atlantean strength,
capable of sustaining any great cause steadily and firmly :
it was rather the fitful and uncertain strength of the
wind, which, moved by forces not residing in itself, may
at one moment refresh and revive the fainting traveller
and the next, heap the burning sands of the desert upot
a perishing caravan, may at one time carry prosper-
ously across the main a vessel laden with precious
treasure, and at another, overwhelm this same vessel in
the depths of the ocean.

See, besides the works already referred to in the foregoing article,
FREDERICK THE GREAT, "Eloge de Voltaire," 1778; CONDORCET,
"Vie de Voltaire, suivie des Memoires de Voltaire, Merits par lui-
merne," 1787; JEAN FRANCOIS DE LA HARPE, Eloge de Voltaire,'
1780; C. PALISSOT. "Eloge de Voltaire," 1778; Louis SIMON AU-
GER. " Notice sur la Vie de Voltaire," 1827] J. F. GILLET, " Voltaire
der Reformator," 1772: DURDENT, "Histoire litteraire et \
phique de Voltaire," 1818; STANDISH, "Life of Voltaire." i8ig
LA ROCHE DU MAINE DE LUCHET. " Histoire litteraire de Voltaire,"
etc., 6 vols., 1782 ; M AZURE, " Vie de Voltaire." 1821 ; SAINT-ALBIN
BERVILLE. "Notice histonque sur Voltaire," 1827; PAILLET DE
WARCY, " Histoire de la Vie et des Ouvrages de Voltaire," 2 vols.,
1823: BUNGENER. "Voltaire et son Temps." 2 vols., 1850; Vo(<
Z/ BUHSSMIG, "Historische und kritische Nachrichten von dem
Leben und den Schriften des Helm Voltaire," etc, 2 vols., 1777:
PASTORET, " Eloge de Voltaire," 1779: " Leven van F. M. Arouet
van Voltaire," Utrecht, 1779 ; MARIA JULIA YOUNG, " Voltairiana,"
4 vols., 1805; ELLISSEN, "Voltaire als politischer Dichter," etc.,
1852; LoNGCHAMpet WAGNIHRE, " Memoires sur Voltaire." 2 vols.,
1825; J. VENEDHY, " Friedrich der Grosse und Voltaire," 1859; A,
HOUSSAYB, " Le Roi Voltaire," 1861; P. DUPRAT, "Voltaire et
1'Encyclope'die," 1865; F. A, HARKL, " Discours sur Voltaire,"
1844; CHARLES NISARD, " Les Ennemis de Voltaire," 1853: GABK-
KEL, " Voltaire et les Genevois," 1860; SAINTS- BF.UVE, "Causeriej
du Lundi," tomes ii. and xiii. ; LEPAN, " Vie politique. litteraire et
morale de Voltaire," 1817; QUERARD, " Bibliographie Voltairienne,*'
1844; O. HONORS, "Voltaire a Lausanne, 1853; VILLBMAIN,
"Tableau de la Litte'rature du dix-huitieme Siecle:" COUSIN D'AVAL-
LON, " Voltairiana," 1801 ; " Biographic Universelle :" and the elabo-
rate article on "Voltaire," in the "Nouvelle Biographic Ge'ne'raie,"



* Lord Brougham defends Voltaire against the charge ofblasphemy,
on the ground that one cannot be guilty of blasphemy against any
being in whom the offender has no belief. One might utter all hor-
rible slanders against the character of Christ, and yet, according to
this view, it would not be blasphemy if the speaker or writer did not
believe in the divinity of Christ. In reply to this argument, it may
uffice to say that it has no support in the original signification of
the verb to ' ' blaspheme," which is simply to " slander" or " vilify ;*'
and it appears to have no sanction in the usage of any European
language.

t Byron has most aptly portrayed the character of Voltaire when,
contrasting him with Gibbon, he says,

"The one was fire and fickleness, a child,
Most mutable in wishes, but in mind
A wit as various, gay, grave, sage, or wild,
Historian, bard, philosopher combined :
He multiplied himself among mankind,
The Proteus of their talents ; but his own
Breathed most in ridicule, which, as the wind,
Blew where it listed, laying all things prone.
Now to o'erthrow a fool, and now to shake a throne."

Ckilde Harold, canto iii. stanza en.

For some very curious and interesting notices of the fickleness,
u well as intensity, of Voltaire's feelings, the reader is referred to
Marnkictel'i "Memoires."



Volterrano. See MAFFEI, (RAFFAELLO and FRAN-

CESCHINI.)

Voltoliiia, vol-to-lee'nl, (GIUSEPPE MILIO), a writer
of Latin poetry, born at Salo, on the Lake of Garda,
flourished about 1570. He wrote a fine poem on Horti-
culture, (1574.)

Vo-lum'ni-a, a Roman matron, was the wife of Cori-
olanus. She, and her mother-in-law, persuaded that
general to desist from his purpose of attacking Rome.
(See VETURIA.)

Vonck, vonk, (FRANCIS), a Flemish jurist, born near
Brussels in 1735. He was one of the leaders of the
party which attempted to throw off the yoke of Austria
about 1789. Died in 1792.

Vondel, van den, van den von'del, [Lat. VONDE'-
Lius,] (JoosT,) an eminent Dutch poet, born at Cologne
in 1587, was a son of Protestant parents, who fled from
Antwerp to escape persecution. He resided mostly at
Amsterdam, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits,
and married about 1610. He produced in 1620 a tragedy
of the " Sack of Jerusalem," and in 1625 a more famous
drama, called " Palamedes," in which he alluded to the
execution of Barneveldt in such indignant terms that he
was fined. His drama of " Gisbert van Amstel" (1657)
was received with great applause. It is stated that he
joined the Catholic Church about 1640. Among his
remarkable works is the tragedy of "Lucifer," (1654,)
which is said to resemble Milton's " Paradise Lost." He
was also a great lyric poet The choruses of his trage-
dies are sublime lyncal compositions. He was the
author of satires and many other poems, and is regarded
as the great national poet of Holland. Died in 1679.

Von Hoist, ( HERMANN EDWARD,) a distinguished
historian, born at Fellin, Livonia, in 1841. He was
professor of history at Strassburg and Freiburg
1872-92, and at the University of Chicago after 1892.
He is the author of " Constitutional History of the
United States," "Constitutional Law of the United
States," lives of John C. Calhoun and John Brown,
etc.

Vo-no'nes, King of Parthia, was a son of Phraatea
IV. He passed some of his early years at Rome as a
hostage, and began to reign in 14 A.D. Having been
deposed by his subjects, he was killed in 19 A.D.

Von-Vlsin. See VIZIN, VON.

Voorst, van, vSn voRst, (ADOLPH,) a Dutch physi-
cian and botanist, born at Delft in 1597. He succeeded
his father as professor of botany at Leyden. Died in
1663.

Voorst, van, [Lat. VOR'STIUS,] (EVERARD,) a Dutch
physician, born at Ruremonde in 1565, was the father
of the preceding. He became professor at Leyden
in 1598. He wrote several medical works. Died in
1624.

Vopadfiva, vo-pa-da'va, a celebrated Sanscrit gram-
marian, who lived perhaps in the twelfth, but probably
in the thirteenth, century A.D. He wrote grammars and
commentaries, inferior to the grammar of Panini, but
valuable for the later Sanscrit forms. Many other books
including even the great " Bhagavata-Purana" are
ascribed to him by Hindoo authorities.

Vo-pis'cus, (FLAVius,) a Latin historian, born at
Syracuse, in Sicily, lived about 300-320 A.D. He was
one of the writers of the " Historia Augusta," to which
he contributed the lives of Aurelian, Tacitus, Florianus,
Probus, etc. He is regarded by some critics as the ablest
of the writers of the " Historia Augusta."

See D. W. MOLLHR, " Disputatio de F. Vopisco," 1687.

Vor, vb'R, or Vo'ra, written also Vara, [probably
from vor or for, (Ger. vor,) " before" or " beforehand,"
so named on account of her prudence and foresight,] a
goddess in the Norse mythology, distinguished for her
wisdom and sagacity. It is her office to search out and
punish broken oaths and promises, particularly those
of lovers. Nothing can escape her penetration, and no
vows, however secret, can be hidden from her.

Voragine, (GIACOMO.) See JAMES (or GIACOMO) DB
VORAGINE.
Vorherr, foVhe'R, JOHANN MICHAEL CHRISTIAN



a, e, I, o, u, y, long: a, e, A, same, less prolonged; a, e, T, o, ii, y, short: a, e, i, o, obscure; far, fill, tat; niSt; not; good; moon;



VORONIKHIN



2411



VOSS



GUSTAV,) a German architect, born at Freudenbach in
1778, studied at Berlin and Paris, and was subsequently
employed to construct a number of public buildings in
the vicinity of Munich. Died in 1847.

Voronikhin or Woronichin, vo-ro-ne-Ken', (AN-
DREI NIKIFOROVITCH,) a Russian architect, born in 1760,
was the son of a peasant, and was patronized by Count
Alexander Stroganol. He studied at Moscow, and
subsequently in Paris, and was appointed, after his re-
turn, professor in the Academy of Arts. In 1811 he
completed the superb cathedral of " Our Lady of
Kazan," in the Nevskii Prospect, at Saint Petersburg,
which is regarded as one of the finest structures in the
city. Died in 1814.

Vorontsof, vor-ont-sof, Voroutzov, or Woron-
zow, (ALEXANDER,) COUNT, a Russian statesman under
the reign of Catherine II., was a brother of the Princess
Dashkof, the intimate friend of that empress. He was
appointed by the emperor Alexander chancellor of the
empire in 1802. Died in 1806.

Vorontsof, Vorontzov, or Woronzow, (MIKHAIL
ILARIONOVITCH,) COUNT, a Russian diplomatist and
statesman, born in 1710, was distinguished by the favour
of the empress Elizabeth, and rose to be chancellor of
the empire. He negotiated the treaty of alliance be-
tween Russia and Sweden in 1745. Died in 1767.

Vorontsof, Vorontzov, or Woronzow, (MIKHAIL
SEMENOVITCH,) PRINCE, a Russian general and states-
man, born at Moscow in 1782. He was educated in
England, where his father, Semen Woronzow, resided
as Russian ambassador. Having entered the Russian
army, he served against the Turks, and in the principal
campaigns against Napoleon from 1812 to 1815- He
was afterwards appointed governor of New Russia and
Bessarabia, and in 1844 of the Caucasian provinces.
Died in 1856.

Vorontzov or Vorontzoff See VORONTSOF.

Vbrosmarty or Voeroesmarty, vo'rosh-morty,
(almost -moRtch,) (MiHALY,) a celebrated Hungarian
writer and patriot, born in the county of Fejervar in
1800. He published, while a student at Pesth, his drama
of "King Solomon," (1821,) which was followed by a
poem entitled "The Triumph of Fidelity," (1822,) "King
Sigismund," (1824,) a drama, "The Flight of Zalan," an
epic poem, and the tragedy of "Kont," (1825.) His
narrative poems entitled "Cserhalom" and "The En-
chanted Valley" ("Tundervolgy," 1827) established his
reputation as the first Hungarian poet of his time. He
was a contributor to Kisfaludy's "Aurora," and was for
several years editor of a journal called "The Repository
ofScience." In 1830 he published a patriotic lyric entitled
" The Appeal," (" Sz6zat,") which at once became widely
popular, and the author received from the Hungarian
Academy a ducat for every line. He took part in the
revolution of 1848, and was a deputy to the National
Assembly for the county of Bacska, and after the defeat
of the Hungarians was imprisoned a short time. He
died in 1856, while engaged on a translation of Shak
speare.

Vorst, foRst, or Vorstius, foR'ste-us, (JoHANN.) a
German philologist, born at Wesselburg in 1623. He
settled in Berlin in 1660, and became rector or president
of the college of that city. He published, besides other
works, "Sacred Philology," etc., ("Philologia Sacra, seu
de Hebraismis Novi Testament! Liber," 1658.) Died
in Berlin in 1676.

Vorsterman, voR'ster-man', (LUCAS,) a skilful Flem-
ish engraver and painter, born at Antwerp about 1580,
was a pupil of Rubens. He engraved some works of
Rubens, among which are the "Adoration of the Magi,"
and the " Descent from the Cross." He worked in
London about nine years, (1624-32,) during which he
engraved a number of portraits after Van Uyck. Died
about 1645. His son LUCAS was an engraver, but not
equal to the father.

See NAGLHR, " Allgemeines Kiinstler-Lexikon."

Vorstius. See VORST and VOORST.

Vorstius, foR'ste-us, or Vorst, foRst, (CONRAD,) a
German Protestant divine, born at Cologne in 1569.
Having taken the degree of D.D. at Heidelberg, he be-
came professor of theology at Geneva, and afterwards



e as k: c as s; g hard: g as ;'; G, H, K, guttural ': N, nasal; R, trilled: s as



filled the same chair in the school of divinity at Stein-
Furt. In 1610 he succeeded Arminius in the chair of
theology at Leyden. His appointment to this post was
strongly opposed by the Calvinists in Holland, on account
of the heresies contained in his " Disputations on the
Nature and Attributes of God," (" De Deo, seu Dis
>utationes decem de Natura et Attributis Dei," etc.
The book was condemned to be publicly burned by James
[. of England, who also wrote a tract against the author,
[n 1619 he was- denounced by the Synod of Dort as un-
worthy of his office, and exiled from the country. He,
died at Tbnningen in 1622. He was the author of sev-
eral religious and controversial works, and was distin-
uished for his learning and piety.

Vor'tl-gern, a British chief, who was elected king
about 445 A.D. To defend Britain against the Picts and
Scots, he invited the aid of the Saxons. Hengist and
Horsa led an army of Saxons into Britain, and soon
turned their arms against Vortigern, who was defeated
and killed in 485 A.D.

Voa, vos, (JAN,) a Dutch dramatist. His " Aaron and
Titus" (1641) was a brilliantly-successful tragedy. The
"Oene" (1641) is an obscene farce. Other works of his
are poems, (1662,) and " Medea," a good tragedy, (1665.)
Died in 1667.

Vos, de, deh vos, (CoRNELis,) a Flemish painter,
born at Hulst about 1585. He excelled in portraits, and
painted several historical pieces. Died at Antwerp in
1651.

Vos, de, (MARTIN.) See DEVOS.

Vos, de, (PAUL,) a painter of animals and hunting-
scenes, born at Hulst (or Aelst) about 1590, was a bro-
ther of Cornell's, noticed above. Died in 1654.

Vos, de, (SiMON,) a Flemish painter, born at Antwerp
in 1603 ; died about 1675.

Vos, van, vSn vos, (WlLLEM,) a Dutch writer on
theology and moral philosophy, born about 1740. He
was employed as pastor at Amsterdam. Died in 1823.

Voss, (GERARD.) See Vossius.

Voss, fos, (HEINRICH,) a German scholar, was a son
of the following. He became a professor in the Univer-
sity of Heidelberg. He translated vBschylus into Ger-
man, and aided his father in a translation of Shakspeare.
Died in 1822.

Voss, (JOHANN HEINRICH,) an eminent German poet
and critic, born at Sommersdorf, (Mecklenburg,) Febru-
ary 20, 1751, was the son of poor parents. After he left
the public school of New Brandenburg, he became a
tutor in a family (1769) near Penzlin. Some verses which
he contributed to the " Musenalmanach" of Gottingen
attracted the notice of Boie, the editor, who invited him
to Gottingen. He went thither in 1772, and devoted
himself to the study of philology under Heyne, with
whom he soon quarrelled. He became one of the prin-
cipal members of the literary society called Ilainbund,
formed an acquaintance with Klopstock, and married
about 1777 a sister of Boie, above mentioned. He quitted
Gottingen in 1775 with a profound knowledge of classical
literature and philology, and was appointed rector of the
public school at Ottendorf in 1778. In 1781 he produced
an excellent translation of Homer's "Odyssey," in hex-
ameter verse, which was received with great favour by the
best judges. In his version the ideas and details of the
original are reproduced with great fidelity. He removed
in 1782 to Eutin, in the duchy of Oldenburg, where he
was employed about twenty years as rector of the gym-
nasium. In 1789 he published a translation of Virgil's
"Georgics," with a commentary. His admirable trans-
lation of the " Iliad" appeared in 1793. As a translator
of the classics, he is generally considered to be un-
rivalled. He contributed much to the improvement of
the German language and metre. Between 1774 and
1800 he composed eighteen beautiful idyls, which were
published collectively in 4 vols., 1802. His pastoral or
idyllic poem " Luise" (1795) is considered the most
charming poem of that kind in the language.

Voss and Heyne were involved in several literary con-
troversies, and indulged in violent personalities. In 1790
he published a translation of the complete works of Vir-
gil. He removed from Eutin to Jena in 1802, and was
called in 1805 to Heidelberg by the Elector of Baden,



ee Explanations, p. 23. 1



voss



2412



VRIHASPA Tl



who offered him a pension of about one thousand florins.
He afterwards published translations of Horace, (1806,)
Hesiod, (1808,) Theocritus, Bion and Moschus, (1808,)
and Aristophanes, (1821.) Voss manifested his devo-
tion to the Protestant religion and liberal principles in
a work entitled " How F. Stolberg became illiberal,"
(" Wie ward Fritz Stolberg ein Unfreier," 1819,) and
published in 1823 his " Antisymbolik," in answer to
Creuzer's " Symbolik," in which the opinions of Heyne
had been maintained. He had two sons, Henry and
Abraham, who were his coadjutors in a translation of
Shakspeare, published in 1818-26. He died at Heidel-
berg in March, 1826.

See PAULUS, " Lebens- und Todeskunden tiber J. H. Voss," 1826 ;


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Online LibraryJoseph ThomasUniversal pronouncing dictionary of biography and mythology (Volume 2) → online text (page 380 of 425)