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brief wit says. Another of the wrongs enumerated is, that Hume asleep, uttered these words, "Je tiens, Jean Jacques Rousseau," which, if true, he ought to have been more proud of than the esteem of princes. The chief and only charge worth consideration is, whether Hume was privy to Walpole's letter; and Rousseau, in one of his letters, declares himself contented to rest the dispute on this one consideration. Walpole writes, that he never spoke of it to Hume, and that he even refused visiting Rousseau, merely because he had the letter ridiculing him in his pocket. The reasons drawn from Hume's correspondence, which Mr M. P. brings to support this assertion, and for the sake of producing which, he seems to have compiled his two volumes, there being nothing else in them new, are simply these passages: "Tell Madame de Boufflers," says Hume, at the end of his letters to Madame de Barbantance, * "that the only pleasantry I have permitted with respect to the pretended letter of the King of Prussia, fell froin myself at the table of Lord Ossory." This, of course, was after the publication of the letter. The other convincing extract brought forward, is from Madame de Boufflers herself, who accuses Hume, that one of the expressions in Walpole's letter was a common one of his own ;-this Hume in answer denies. The dry statement of these charges, and what they rest upon, is quite sufficient,-more contemptible special pleading in criticism never met our eyes.
To substantiate the term ignorance, which we have applied to the defamer of Hume, we will quote another specimen from this work. Rousseau longing to be completely isolated and retired, wished to depart immediately for Wales;-Hume says, that he "fait naitre," caused obstacles to be thrown in the way of this scheme. Mr Musset-Pathay, not knowing that there is any difference between Staffordshire and Wales, accuses Hume of raising obstacles to the journey to Wootton, and thus openly encouraging what privately he counteracted. Mr M. P. should have learned geography before he turned critic. Rousseau, in his complaint, accuses the English for having visited him, and for having neglected to visit him. With equal
consistency, his biographer accuses Hume of having written an account of the quarrel to his friends in France, and of not having written ;-in short, he has not left a letter unrummaged, nor a scrap unquoted, that might at all be brought to bear against the character of the person whom he calls ironically the bon David." The absolute nothingness of his research is surprising; we did not think it in the nature of hospitality, that any one could have lived a public life-both political and literary, as Hume did,— leave his writings, his letters, and his actions, open to the world, and yet escape so perfectly free from the slightest imputation. His benevolence to Rousseau need not be again repeated; the trouble he took, the expedients he used not to wound the distempered sensibility of the unfortunate man, are peculiarly remarkable in such a passionless character. The only time he ever replied with warmth and harshness to Rousseau, was when the latter spoke wrongfully of D'Alembert. The French critic has been more successful in impeaching the sincerity of Walpole, from whose correspondence he produces two extracts injurious to Hume; and which indeed no one would expect to see from the pen of the man, who would not visit Rousseau, because he had a letter quizzing him in his pocket. But for all the stress laid on them by the biographer, they weigh but little even against Walpole: one is confined to the historical work of Hume, and expresses a contempt for the French admiration of it,-and the other is too general to be considered injurious. He writes to George Montague:
"The jesuits, methodists, politicians, and philosophers, Rousseau the hypocrite, Voltaire the wit, the Encyclopedists, the Humes, the Fredericks, are in my eyes but impostors. The species varies, and that is all-they have for their end but interest or fame."
And pray what was the end of all Horace Walpole's thoughts and actions? Impertinent scribbling, which he had the good sense to confine to the knowledge of himself and friends, and which those friends had the imprudence to give to the world after his death. But comparisons between the sincerity of literary society in the two
Dated February, 1766:
annoyed by the crowds of visitors, which curiosity attracted to his garret. They have all mostly preserved their different accounts in the Anas of the time; and news from the Rue Platriere was then in Paris, what a corner of a letter from Italy is at present to us. Among those whom he became intimate with, was Sophie Arnoud, the actress; he even dined with her frequently; but supper, the convivial meal of that day, was too late for his habits. Some of the young gallants of the time were continually tormenting Sophie to keep Jean Jacques for supper, that they might obtain a sight of him. She had frequently endeavoured to detain him, but could never succeed; she therefore thought of an expedient to satisfy the importunities of her fashionable guests. The tailor of the theatre was not unlike Rousseau, and she compelled this tailor to fit himself with a dress similar to that worn by the other-the wig, the brown coat, and the long heavy cane. And instructing him to hold his head down, and his tongue tight, she seated the mock Jean Jacques by her side at supper. The guests spoke at him in vain, the tailor sat imperturbably silent, until the wine began to drive out of his head the lessons of prudence he had received. The fun of it was, that at last he out-talked them all, and they separated, each to recount to his friend the wonderful esprit of Jean Jacques. But the most amusing anecdote is that told by Madame de Genlis, in her Souvenirs de Felicie.
countries, by whatever party they are instituted, must redound to the honour of England. In their relations with one another, the soi-disant philosophers of France, during the 18th century, including the great Frederick himself, conducted themselves more like the fry of a day-school, than an assemblage of genius and respectability. The Humes, the Robertsons, the Smiths, neither flogged nor lampooned each other.
Therèse, the mistress or wife of Rousseau, whichever she was, excited continual disturbances, according to her custom, in the family of Mr Davenport, who, notwithstanding the breach with Hume, still proffered his friendship. On the 1st of May, 1767, Jean Jacques made off from Wootton, leaving all his effects behind him in his fright and hurry. He soon after was established in the Castle of Trie, by the Marquis of Mirabeau, with whom he commenced a correspondence, and who pressed him in vain to take up the pen once more. Jean Jacques declared himself dead to literaturewe believe he had become totally incapable of mental exertion. In June 1768, he ran away from Trie, because they would not give him any cabbage, and settled successively at Bourguoin and Monquin. Here he gives himself up to the study of botany, and forsakes politics and polemics, to "meubler la tête de foin," as he says. Here also he contrived to take revenge of Voltaire, by subscribing to the statue about to be erected to that philosopher;-Voltaire was extremely annoyed, and endeavoured to have his subscription refused. In June 1770, Rousseau took up his residence in Paris, having joyfully obtained permission: the reason he gives for preferring the metropolis to his beloved retirement, is not very intelligible. He writes, "that honour and duty call him ;" if honour and duty be variety, the reason is plain. On his settling in Paris, he hired a chamber in the Rue Platriere, now Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, opposite the postoffice, where he remained till a little before his death, wholly occupied in copying music, if we except the Réveries du Remeneur Solitaire.
During the eight years that elapsed between Rousseau's settling in Paris, and his departure for Ermenonville, he was at times delighted and at times
"My first interview with Jean Jacques," relates this lady, " does not do much honour to my discernment; but it was of so comic and singular a nature, that I cannot help recalling it. I had been in Paris about six months, and was then eighteen years of age. Although I had never read a line of his works, I felt a great desire to see a man so celebrated, and who particularly interested me as the author of the Devin du Village. But Rousseau was savage in the extreme, and absolutely refused either to pay or receive visits of any kind. At any rate, I had not the courage to make the attempt, but merely expressed my desire to be acquainted with him, without any hopes of having my desire fulfilled. One day Mr de Sauvigny, who sometimes saw Rousseau, told me in confidence, that Mr de intended
playing me a trick, by bringing, some evening, Preville, the comedian, to our house, disguised as Jean Jacques Rousseau, and who would act in consonance with the habit he had assumed. The idea made me laugh, and I promised myself much amusement by pretending to be the dupe of the trick."
Several weeks passed without any sign of Preville; but Rousseau himself, who wished to hear Madame de Genlis play upon the harp, visited her one evening, introduced by Sauvigny. She takes Jean Jacques for Preville acting the character. "I confess," continues she, "I never saw any thing so comic as the figure, and so took it, without hesitation, for a mask. His coat, his chesnut-coloured stockings, his little round wig, in short, his whole costume and appearance, presented to my eyes but the scene of a comedy most inimitably acted. Ne vertheless, that I might seem to be deceived with the joke, making a wondrous effort, I kept my countenance, and after a few words of politeness, sat down. The conversation, happily for me, was gay enough, I held my tongue, but could not help, for the life of me, now and then bursting into prodigious fits of laughter. This extravagant gaiety seemed not to displease Rousseau-he said the prettiest things in the world of youth and young people. Preville, thinks I to myself, has more talent than one would expect; Rousseau himself would not be half so agreeable, besides that my laughter would have offended him. He addressed me; I was not in the least embarrassed; I answered, cavalierly, every thing that came in my head. He found me quite original, and I thought that he acted his part to perfection. Preville seemed never to have acted so well upon the stage as in my chamber, yet I thought he had represented Rousseau with too much indulgence and bonhomie. I played upon the harp, sung some airs of the Devin du Village, and laughed even to tears at the praises he uttered of his Devin. He looked at me always with a smile, as at a good-humoured infant; and on leaving us, he promised to return next day to dinner. He had so much diverted us, that I leaped for joy at his promise, and conducted him to the door, saying all the polite things imaginable. When he
was gone, and no longer any restraint, I set myself to laugh away all the humour his presence had suppressed. Mr de** was astonished, and regarded me with a discontented and displeased countenance. You see, at length,' says I, that you have not deceived me. You're piqued at your want of success. But could you really suppose me so simple as to take Preville for Jean Jacques?'' Preville ?'
Yes, you may deny it, but you can't persuade me. Why, girl, your brain's turned.' I confess that Preville was charming, perfect; no one could act better; but I'll engage, that with the exception of the cos tume, he has not at all imitated Rousseau. He has represented a very amniable old man, but nothing like Jean Jacques, who certainly would have thought me most extravagant, and been scandalized at such a reception.'
"At these words Mr de** and Mr de Sauvigny laughed immoderately, and I began to have doubts of my sagacity. They explained, and what was my confusion on learning that I had received the veritable Jean Jacques Rousseau in this pretty manner. I declared I never could see him again, if they discovered to him my stupidity; they promised they would not, and kept their words. What is most singular is, that this conduct won me the good graces of Rousseau. He told Mr Sauvigny that I was the most natural, gay, unpretending young person he had ever met; and certainly without the mistake that had furnished me with such a cause of mirth, he would have found nothing in me but bashfulness and timidity. As I owed my success to error, I cannot be very proud of it. Knowing thenceforward all the indulgence of Rousseau, I saw him without embarrassment, and felt always perfectly at ease in his company. I have never seen a man of letters so amiable in conversation;-he spoke of himself with simplicity, and of his enemies with moderation; he rendered justice to the merits of Voltaire, and said it was impossible that the author of Merope and Zaire did not possess a soul of great sensibility. He spoke also of his Confessions, and told us he had read them to Madame d'Egmont. And at the same time said, that I was too young to obtain from him the same mark of
He then asked me, had I 'read his works? A little embarrassed at the question, I answered, No. He wished to learn, why?-this embarrassed me more, especially as his look was fixed on me. His eyes are very small, and sunk in his head, yet they seemed to penetrate into the very soul of the person he interrogated. It appeared to me, that he would have discovered instantly any thing like a falsehood or excuse. Thus I had not much merit in declaring, as I did frankly to him, that the reason was that his works contained many things against religion. You know,' replied he, that I am not a Catholic, but no one can have spoken of the gospel with more conviction. I then thought myself rid of his questions, when he asked me, Why I blushed? For fear of displeasing you,' I answered simply. This frankness always pleased him excessively. He told me that his writings were not fit for my age, but that I would do well to read Emile in a few years. He spoke much of the manner in which he had composed the Nouvelle Heloise; and told us, that he wrote all the letters of Julie on fine little note paper, with vignettes, which he folded up into billets, and then perused them in his walks with as much pleasure as if he had received them from an adored mistress. He recited Pygmalion for us, standing and gesticulating, in a manner truly energetic and just. He had a very agrecable smile, was communicative, and often gay," &c.
Madame de Genlis unluckily asked him to accompany her to the theatre; he went, but never spoke to her after, saying, she wished to shew him like a bear in a cage.
Locke to him, without seeming aware that he is but quoting the English metaphysician.
Whether we attribute Rousseau's conduct in England to simple ingratitude or to insanity, there can be no doubt that his intellect was deranged some years before his death. Corançey applies the definition of insanity in
"Il partait toujours d'un principe, fruit de son imagination blessée, principe qu'il ne pouvait examiner sensément; mais les conséquences qu'il en tirait etaient toutes dans les règles de la plus saine logique, de façon qu'on ne pouvait qu' être infiniment etonné de le voir, sur le même fait, si sage ensemble et si fou."
But if we could doubt the insanity of a man of genius, who walked about the streets of Paris in an Armenian cloak and caftan, and who played cup and ball after having written Emile, the following account is convincing. It is also interesting to those who are given to the ungrateful amusement of comparing the living with the deadbut "caparisons are odoriferous," as Mr Malaprop says. There may be shades of similarity; but to speak plain, it is impertinent to compare Byron with Rousseau ;-only conceive the noble author of Childe Harold, directing with his poetic pen, the suckling, the rearing, and the Reading-madeeasy's of children-writing volumes about the alphabet, and running for cakes-and yet for all this there is a striking analogy between the characters, that tempts us at times to allow him the name of the patrician Rousseau.† The extraordinary sympathy of both for Tasso, is one striking point of union.
"For a long time," says Mr Corançey, speaking of Rousseau, "I had perceived a striking change in his physiognomy; it often appeared in a state of convulsion, so as to render the features impossible even to be recognized, and the whole expression horrific.
"In this state his look seemed to embrace the totality of space, and his eyes seemed as if they perceived every object at the same time; but, in reality, they saw nothing. He used also to turn in his chair, and pass his arm
He was in the habit of reading his Confessions to select circles, till Madame D'Epinay obtained the interference of the police to prevent him.
+ It is whispered, that another point of resemblance has taken place: that the noble author has written his Life, or Confessions, and has made a noble use of them in presenting the manuscript to a celebrated poet, whom misfortune, more than imprudence, had involved in debt. The sale of the copy-right will, it is said, enable the latter to return to England, and take up his residence among his countrymen. The work in question will of course not be published till the death of the noble author. May we long wait!
over the back of it; the arm went like a pendulum, continually back and forwards-this habit I observed the four years preceding his death. As soon as ever the arm assumed that posture, I was prepared to hear him start some extravagant supposition, nor was I ever disappointed. It was in one of these moods that he said to me abruptly, Do you know why I give Tas so so decided a preference ? No,' said I; but 'tis not difficult to conjecture. Tasso, uniting to the most. brilliant imagination, the good fortune to have lived after Homer and Virgil, had profited of the beauties of both those great poets, and avoided their defects. There is something in that,' said Rousseau; but do you know that he has predicted my misfortunes?' I made a movement, he stopped me I understand you,' continued he, Tasso has come before my time; how could he foretell my misfortunes? I know not how, probably he knew not himself; but, in fine, he has predicted them. Have you remarked that Tasso has this peculiarity, that you cannot take from his work a single strophe, nor from any strophe a single line, or from any line a single word, without disarranging the whole poem, so precise is it and curiously put together. Very well, take away the strophe I speak of-the word does not suffer, it rests perfect; the stanza has no connexion with those that precede or follow it-it is absolutely useless. We must presume that Tasso wrote it involuntarily, and without comprehending it himself-but there it is.' He cited to me this wonderful strophe, it is in the mouth of Tancrede,' &c.
On the 20th of May, 1778, Rousseau left Paris for Ermenonville, where he was invited to take up his residence by the Marquis de Girardin. His wife, Therese, was, as usual, the cause of his removal; she pleaded ill health, and the necessity of country air. It
turned out, that the object of attraction for the wretched woman was a stableboy of M. de Girardin's, whom, after Rousseau's death, she married, to the indignation of all the friends of her first husband. On the 24 of July, the same year, Rousseau died, according to the procès verbal, of a serious apoplexy; but in the opinion of every one who examined the circumstances of his death, he perished by his own hand. That the Girardins and Therèse should endeavour to conceal the true cause of his death, is easily accounted for, and there were many instances at that period of a procès verbal procured to suit the views of the parties. The Girardins and Therese equally allow a deep wound in the forehead; which, if occasioned as they state, by a fall upon the floor, could not have been so deep, as to oblige the artist, who took the cast of the visage, to fill it up with much trouble. The procès verbal makes no mention of this deep wound; the surgeon could not have overlooked such an accident; and the intentional omission alone, apart from any other consideration, strongly impugns their veracity. There is little doubt that the conjectures of Corançey and Madame de Staël were but too true ;-that Rousseau having perceived the infidelity of his wife, the only being he had not ceased to trust, took poison in his morning coffee, and this being of slow effect, he shot himself in the forehead. The letters of Therèse, detailing the circumstances of his death, are manifestly false, nor even do they agree. In one of them she tells the well-known anecdote, of his rising to take a last view of nature and the sun, which sublime picture the generality of people have not thought sufficiently romantic, unless the hero of it were a Deist. For our part, we can find no reasons to make us suppose, that Rousseau died an unbeliever.
Canto XII. Stanza 77.
HOW FAR IS POETRY AN ART?
MR NORTH, EVEN in my boyish days, when creeping" with shining morning face, unwillingly to school," I can remember a shade of that feeling which Hume VOL. XI.
calls "sceptical doubt," being excited by the term "Art of Poetry." It must probably have been Horace's celebrated epistle that I had heard of, for I was something of a precocious devour◄