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• But one should hear at the end of each piece, the cries of sensibility and joy of this multitude and its transports, O benedetto ! O che gusto! Piacer da morire ! &c. I have seen some, who, unable to control their delight, embraced the horses of the carriages in the crowd ; and it is well known that Italian horses are not so gentle as the English or even as our own. All the time of this phrenzy, the most of us Frenchmen heard nothing but the noise, and were far from paying any attention to the music.'
We cannot afford space for farther extracts from Morellet's journal, at this time. On returning to France in 1759, he recommenced the study of mercantile and political economy, which he had begun before his journey to Italy. He was presented to Madame Geoffrin at this time, whose house the philosophers frequented. After their literary dinners, an excellent thing when truly literary, D'Alembert, Raynal, Helvetius, Marmontel, &c. used to resort to the Tuilleries to meet their other friends, learn the news, and criticise the government. They took great interest in the various success of their royal brother Frederic, and were of course disposed to opposition to the French ministry. Madame Geoffrin, a great ministerialist, attempted to divide the forces of the philosophers on their march to the place of meeting. When Raynal, D'Alembert, or Marmontel were about leaving her together, she would detain one of them. This policy of the hostess was defeated by the philosophers waiting for each other at the foot of the staircase, and she was forced to acknowledge her opposition was vain. About this time they were violently attacked in a discourse at the academy by M. de Pompignan. Voltaire replied by several satires, and the other light armed troops of ridicule were manæuvred so effectually that de Pompignan was obliged to effect an immediate retreat to his own province, accompanied by this quotation, made by the dauphin :
Et l'ami Pompignan pense être quelque chose.' On the side of the assailants, Palissot wrote the philosophers' comedy,' in which they were brought forward to ridicule and hatred, in the style of the old comedy. Morellet procured by acaccident an account of the events of the private life of Palissot, which he worked up into a satire, that he acknowledges himself passed the bounds of legitimate warfare. Palissot, however, had friends in power, and Morellet had been imprudent enough to introduce a lady, who was among the most powerful, in his preface to the philosophers' comedy.' This little affair con
cluded therefore by the Abbé's being committed to the bastile for a few weeks, and on his release, being requested to pass the autumn out of Paris. These two months of confinement were passed by Morellet in a round of study, conversation, and exercise, the two last, consisting of singing to himself and dancing round his chamber. Madame de Luxembourg at length obtained his liberation, in consequence of the solicitations of Malesherbes, D'Alembert, and J. J. Rousseau. The latter, in his confessions, complains of Morellet's coldness in his thanks to him on this occasion, and of his having supplanted him in the favor of Madame de Luxembourg. Accordingly, the chapter of these memoirs following the account of the confinement at the bastile, is employed in giving some account of the suspicious disposition of Rousseau. From this portion of the work we can make no extracts. It is incidentally mentioned, however, that the Baron d'Holbach, of whom we shall speak presently, used constantly to employ himself to irritate Rousseau, under the idea that his conversation was more spirited and brilliant, when he was incensed. After this avowal, we cannot see how d’Holbach can complain of Rousseau's illtemper, as he does formally in the same breath, to Morellet. A sensibility less delicate than the Genevan’s, might become suspicious when his intimate companions passed their time in endeavoring to excite him with contradiction and raillery, as the bear and bull baiters contrive elastic images to rise again whenever they are thrown over, to irritate the wretched animals, from whose fury and pain the public amusement is derived. It appears that Rousseau had been led to believe that Morellet had written `a pastoral instruction,' in which he had been ill treated. The Abbé speaks with very great enthusiasm of Rousseau's eloquence, though with bitterness, of what he calls • bis deadly principles of equality.'
Morellet, though not himself an irreligious man, was greatly delighted with the society of the atheistical philosophers. The following account of their meetings at the house of the baron d'Holbach, may be amusing to some of our readers :
His house at this time collected the most distinguished of the Frenchmen of letters : Diderot, J. J. Rousseau, Helvétius, Barthès, Venelle, Rouelle and his scholars, Rouse and Darcet, Duclos, Saurin, Raynal, Suard, Marmontel, St Lambert, La Condamine, the Chevalier Chasteleux, &c. The baron himself was one of the best educated men of his time, knowing many of the modern lan
guages, and something of the ancient, having an excellent and large library, a rich collection of designs by the best artists, soine fine pictures, of which he was a good judge, a cabinet of natural history, &c. To these advantages, he added great politeness, per. fect simplicity, an easy access and striking goodness of heart. It is easy to imagine how eagerly such society would be sought. Accordingly, besides those I have named, all the strangers of Paris, of any talent or merit, were invited there, at the time when Paris was, as Galiani said, the coffee house of Europe.
• I should never finish were I to mention the strangers of distinction whom I have seen happy to be admitted there ; Hume, Wilkes, Sterne, Galiani, Beccaria, Caraccioli, lord Shelburne, count Creutz, Veri, Frizi, Garrick, the prince royal of Brunswick, Franklin, Priestley, Col. Barré, &c. Baron d'Holbach had regularly two dinners a week, Sunday and Thursday. There assembled besides, other days, ten, twelve, or twenty men of letters, public characters or strangers, who esteemed and cultivated the arts. Plain but excellent cheer, good wine and coffee, much disputation, but no anger ; the simplicity of manners, which belongs to men of talents and education, great gaiety and interest, completed really a very agreeable society, as is clear from our meeting at two, which was customary in those times, and often remaining together till seven or eight.
• There might be heard the most free, animated and instructive conversation possible, though there was no religious or philosophical hardiesse, which was not from time to time brought forward and discussed, acutely and profoundly. Sometimes an individual proposed his theory, and was allowed to state it peaceably and without interruption. On other occasions, a single combat in form, would take place, of which the rest of the society would remain quiet spectators, a method of listening which I have seldom seen in any other place. There I heard Roux and Darcet explain their theory of the earth, Marmontel the excellent principles of his elements of literature, Raynal lay down the pounds, shillings, and pence of the Spanish trade to the Phillipines and Vera Cruz, and the English to their colonies ; the Neapolitan Ambassador and the Abbé Galiani, tell us long stories in the Italian style, a kind of drama that we heard to the close, and Diderot treat a question of the arts, literature, or philosophy, and captivate attention by his fluency and eloquence and by the inspiration of his manner. There, if I may name myself among so many great men, I produced sometiines my principles of public economy.
• There also, to tell the whole truth, Diderot, Roux, and even the good baron himself, established dogmatically their absolute atheism, which was that of “the system of nature," with an earnest sincerity, which was quite edifying even to those of us, who did
not believe the doctrine taught. I cannot avoid relating an occurrence which illustrates what I have said.'
• The conversation had turned on this subject one whole afternoon, and Diderot and Roux had said things in their arguments to bring the thunder a thousand times upon the house, if ever it would fall for such a cause. The Abbé Galiani, secretary of the Neapolitan legation, heard their dissertations patiently, but at last replied: "Gentlemen philosophers, you go on at a fine rate. I begin by telling you if I were Pope, I would put you into the inquisition, and if i were king of France, into the bastile; but as I have the good fortune to be neither, I will come here to dine on Thursday, and you shall hear me as patiently as I have you."
Very well, my dear Abbé, cried every one," and the atheists, ' very well, till next Thursday."
• Thursday arrives. After dinner and coffee, the Abbé seats himself on å sofa, his legs under him like a tailor, which was his manner, and as it was warm, taking his wig in one hand, and gesticulating with the other, he began : “ I will suppose, gentlemen, the one of you who is convinced the most perfectly that the world is the eifect of chance, playing with three dice, not at a gaming house, but in the best company at Paris, and that his antagonist throws once, twice, three times, always doublets of six.”
* As little time as the game would last, my friend Diderot losing his money in this
“ the dice are loaded and I am
will not believe that nature's dice are loaded, and that you are sadly cheated if you think they are not.'
In addition to the society at the German baron's, at M. Helvetius', Madame Geoffrin's, &c. Madame Necker at that time instituted similar meetings of the men of letters. Morellet enters at some length into a discussion of the character of Necker, but we have not space for any extracts. At this time our author published several pamphlets, and engaged more or less in the literary and political controversies of the day. Of more lasting interest is the work on crimes and punishments,' which he translated at the request of M. de Malesherbes. He took occasion to make several alterations in the arrangement of this treatise in the course of translation, but appears on the whole to have contented, and even pleased Beccaria by the execution. In sending him some copies of the translation of his work, Morellet thought proper to invite Beccaria to Paris, in the name of the philosophers,' hinting at the union which New Series, No. 12.
should exist between the learned of every country, and recommending it to him to imitate the pilgrimage of the ancient sages to the islands and Egypt. Beccaria took the translator at his word, and repaired to Paris, where the philosophers' received him with great empressement. They were soon, however, convinced, as they said, of the weakness of human nature, and as we say they should have been, of their own inconsequence, in having formed the expectation of being as much delighted by the marquis' bon mots in conversation, as by his sound principles of legislation in writing. « The philosophers' should have known better, if not from their penetration, from the examples of their own society. There was Buffon, who wrote with such elaborate polish and care as to delight and captivate Mademoiselle de L'Espinasse by his style. She obtained an introduction to him and promised herself the greatest pleasure in hearing his sweet conversation. After paying him a few delicate compliments to put him in good humor, she paused to taste the first drop of honey, that should distil from his lips, and was shocked to have the charming philosopher reply to her with an oath, a vile metaphor, and a vulgar proverb in one sentence. But
"Give him a pen, "And pure as Helicon the fountain flowed. So it was, or rather worse, with the Marquis Beccaria. The fact was, that the author of the Delitti e Pene had left a mistress, of whom he was jealous, at Milan, when he set off for Paris to receive the philosphers' gratulations. His friend, Count Veri, who appears to have been a sprightly young man, not at all troubled with any unpleasant reserve, or in fact any prejudices of a national or sentimental kind, had great difficulty to drag the Marquis from Lyons to Paris, as his heart misgave him at the former place. Under these premises, it is the less surprising that the philosophers derived but moderate edification from the conversation of the illustrious legislator :
• But we had soon a sad experience of the weakness of human nature. Beccaria had torn himself from a young lady, of whom he was jealous, and this passion would have led him to retrace his steps from Lyons to Milan, if his friend had not forced him on. Arrived at last, he was sobre and reserved, and no one could get two words from him. On the other hand, his friend, of a handsome figure and gay and easy disposition, obtained the preference universally in society. This completed the distraction of poor Beccaria, who, after three weeks or a month at Paris, returned