Page images

and respecting whom the registers of the Sorbonne do not contain the slightest notice ?

Investigate the histories of France, of Germany, of England, Spain, and other countries, and you find not a single word about Garagantua. His whole life, from his birth to his death, is a tissue of inconceivable prodigies.

His mother, Gargamelle, was delivered of him from the left ear.

Almost at the instant of his birth he called out for drink, with a voice that was heard even in the districts of Beauce and Vivarais. Sixteen ells of cloth were required to make him breeches, and a hundred bides of brown cows were used in his shoes. He had not attained the age of twelve years before he gained a great battle, and founded the abbey of Thélême. Madame Badebec was given to him in marriage, and Badebec is proved to be a Syrian name.

He is represented to have devoured six pilgrims in a mere sallad, and the river Seine is stated to have flowed entirely from his person, so that the Parisians are indebted for their beautiful river to him alone.

All this is considered contrary to nature by our carping philosophers, who scruple to admit even what is probable, unless it is well supported by evidence.

They observe, that if the Parisians have always believed in Garagantua, that is no reason why other nations should believe in him; that, if Garagantua had really performed one single prodigy out of the many attributed to him, the whole world would have resounded with it, all records would have noticed it, and à hundred monuments would have attested it. In short, they very unceremoniously treat the Parisians who believe in Garagantua, as ignorant simpletons and superstitious idiots, with whom are intermixed a few hypocrites, who pretend to believe in Guaragantua, in order to obtain some convenient priorship in the abbey of Thélême.

The reverend father Viret, a cordelier of full-sleeved dignity, a confessor of ladies, and a preacher to the king, has replied to our pyrrhonian philosophers in a manner decisive and invincible. . He very learnedly proves, that if no writer, with the exception of Ram belais, has mentioned the prodgies of Garagantua, at least, no historian has contradicted them; that the sage de Thou, who was a believer in witchcraft, divination, and astrology, never denied the miracles of Garagantua. They were not even called in question by La Mothe le Vayer. Mezerai treated them with such respect, as not to say a word against them, or indeed about them. These prodigies were performed before the eyes of all the world. Rabelais was a witness of them. It was impossible that he could be deceived, or that he would deceive. Had he deviated even in the smallest degree from the truth, all the nations of Europe would have been roused against him in indignation; all the gazetteers and journalists of the day would have exclaimed with one voice against the fraud and imposture.

In vain do the philosophers reply,--for they reply to everything,—that, at the period in question, gazettes and journals were not in existence. . It is said in return, that there existed what was equivalent to them, and that is sufficient. Everything is impossible in the history of Garagantua, and from this circumstance itself may be inferred its incontestable truth.

For if it were not true, no person could possibly have ventured to imagine it, and its incredibility constitutes the great proof that it ought to be believed.

Open all the Mercuries, all the Journals de Trevoux; those immortal works' which teem with instruction to the race of man, and you will not find a single line which throws a doubt on the history of Garagantua. It was reserved for our own unfortunate age to produce monsters, who would establish a frightful pyrrhonism, under the pretence of requiring evidence as nearly approaching to mathematical as the case will admit, and of a devotion to reason, truth, and justice. What a pity! Oh for a single argument to confound them!

Garagantua founded the abbey of Thélême. The title deeds, it is true, were never found; it never had any; but it exists, and produces an income of ten thousand pieces of gold a year. The river Seine exists, and is an eternal monument of the prodigious fountain from which Garagantua supplied so noble a stream. Moreover, what will it cost you to believe in him? ought you not to take the safest side? Garagantua can procure for you wealth, honours, and influence. Philosophy can only bestow on you internal tranquillity and satisfaction, which you will of course estimate as a trifle. Believe, then, I again repeat, in Garagantua; if you possess the slightest portion of avarice, ambition, or knavery, it is the wisest part you can adopt.

GAZETTE: A NARRATIVE of public affairs. It was at the beginning of the seventeenth century that this useful practice was suggested and established at Venice, at the time when Italy still continued the centre of European negociations, and Venice was the unfailing asylum of liberty. The leaves or sheets containing this narrative, which were published once a week, were called Gazettes, from the word Gazetta, the name of a small coin, amounting nearly to one of our demisous, then current at Venice. The example was afterwards followed in all the great cities of Europe.

Journals of this description have been established in China from time immemorial. The Imperial Gazette is published there every day by order of the court. Admitting this gazette to be true, we may easily believe it does not contain all that is true; neither in fact ought it to do so.

Theophrastes Renaudot, a physician, published the first gazettes in France in 1601, and he had an exclusive privilege for the publication, which continued for a long time a patrimony to his family. The like privilege became an object of importance at Amsterdam, and the greater part of the gazettes of the United Provinces are still a source of revenue to many of the families of magistrates, who pay writers for furnishing materials for them. The city of London alone publishes more than twelve gazettes in the course of a

week.* They can be printed only upon stamped paper, and produce no inconsiderable income to the state,

The gazettes of China relate solely to that empire; those of the different states of Europe embrace the affairs of all countries. Although they frequently abound in false intelligence, they may nevertheless be considered as supplying good materials for history; because, in general, the errors of each particular gazette are corrected by subsequent ones, and because they contain authentic copies of almost all state papers, which indeed are published in them by order of the sovereigns or governments themselves. The French gazettes have always been revised by the ministry. It is on this account that the writers of them have always adhered to certain forms and designations, with a strictness apparently somewhat inconsistent with the courtesies of polished society, bestowing the title of monsieur only on some particular descriptions of persons, and that of sieur upon others; the authors having forgotten that they were not speaking in the name of their king. These public journals, it must be added, to their praise, have never been debased by calumny, and have always been written with considerable correctness,

The case is very different with respect to foreign gazettes; those of London, with the exception of the court gazette, abound frequently in that coarseness and licentiousness of observation which the national liberty allows. The French gazettes established in that country have been seldom written with purity, and have sometimes been not a little instrumental in corrupting the language. One of the greatest faults which has found a way into them arises from the authors having concluded that the ancient forms of expression used in public proclamations and in judicial and political proceeedings and documents in France, and with which they were particularly conversant, were analogous to the regular syntax of our language, and from their having accordingly imitated that style in their narrative. This is like a Roman historian's using the style of the law of the twelve tables.

* This was wriiten about 1763 or 64.

In imitation of the political gazettes, literary ones began to be published in France in 1665; for the first journals were, in fact, simply advertisements of the works recently printed in Europe : to this mere announcement of publication was soon added a critical examination or review. Many authors were offended at it, notwithstanding its great moderation. We shall here speak only of those literary gazettes with which the public, who were previously in possession of various journals from every country in Europe in which the sciences were cultivated, were completely overwhelmed. These gazettes appeared at Paris about the year 1723, under many different names, as-2" The Parnassian InteHigencer,”—“ Observations on New Books," &c. The greater number of them were written for the single purpose of making money; and as money is not to be made by praising authors, these productions consisted generally of satire and abuse. They often contained the most odious personalities, and for a time sold in proportion to the virulence of their malignity; but reason and good taste, which are always sure to prevail at last, consigned them eventually to contempt and oblivion.*



MANY volumes have been written by learned divines in order to reconcile St. Matthew with St. Luke on the subject of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. The former enumeratest only twenty-seven generations from David through Solomon, while Luke gives forty-two, and traces the descent through Nathan. The following is the method in which the learned Calmet solves a difficulty relating to Melchizedec. The orientals and the Greeks,

* The certain fate of the Blackwoods, Beacons, Bulls, &c. of our own time and country. -T. + Matthew i.

| Luke iii, 29.

« PreviousContinue »