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are unwilling to damp the zeal of a pious pastor, or to cut off his only resource for the relief of the spiritual destitution with which he is surrounded. We can also understand that they are unwilling to interfere to regulate this system of hegging, as such interference would also seem to sanction it. But something, we think, might be done. Where it is intended to circulate beggingletters out of the diocese, the formal sanction of the Diocesan Church-building Society might be required, or at least a reference to the archdeacon should be given.

It must not be supposed that by these remarks we desire to check the flow of charitable contributions, or to teach the wealthy how they may be benevolent at the cheapest rate; on the contrary, if we could persuade them to enter into the details of the various plans that are submitted to them, even with the intention of reducing the estimates, we are convinced the gain to the cause of charity would be great. The views of all who can be persuaded to give personal attention to charitable designs must expand. The more they go into the subject the stronger must be their perception of the immensity of what remains to be done ; and in seeking to economise in the project under their actual consideration they will mainly be influenced by a sense of the enormous demand which other undertakings make on their attention and their resources. The question is not whether rich edifices are better than plainer, but whether, when the funds are limited and the wants almost boundless, an additional minister of the gospel is not of more importance to a parish than painted glass or mediæval tracery, a score of extra beds in an hospital of greater moment than a profusion of external decoration. The charity is not in the building but in the amount of suffering which the building enables us to relieve ; and we cannot but think that if the good men of the world were to consider how much physical agony goes untended, how much ignorance untaught, and how much sin unreproved, they would pause before they bestowed upon wood-carving and stone-work those sums which, wisely dispensech, would alleviate the ills of the flesh, and give immortal life to benighted souls.

We have for the most part omitted to specify particular examples, or to make pointedly intelligible allusions to the different instances of mismanagement which we have quoted. If it were possible to doubt the facts on which we ground our argument, there could have been no difficulty in multiplying proofs to any extent. But as our object is rather to illustrate our meaning than to prove our case, we think it hardly fair to cite before the public worthy individuals whose imprudence or mismanagement is not so great perhaps as that of others whose names will be

immediately immediately suggested to the reader by his own personal experience. But we are not sure that our consideration and forbearance will meet their reward. The cap suits so many heads that many for whom it was not intended will put it on, and perhaps take pains to prove how well it fits:

• The fewer still you name you hit the more
Oldfield is one, but Harpax is a score.'

Art. IV. – 1. La Vie Publique de Michel Montaigne. Par

Alphonse Grün. Paris, 1855. 2. Nouveaux Documents Inédits ou peu connus sur Montaigne. Recueillis et publiés, par le Dr. J. F. Payen. Paris, 1850. CONTAIGNE supplies the French with what Shakspeare

does ourselves—a perpetual topic. The · Essais' have a breadth and depth which criticism is not yet weary of measuring and re-measuring. And, notwithstanding all the excellent things that have been said on those unique effusions, doubtless there remains more still that can be said. There are some books which partake of the inexhaustible multiformity of our moral nature, and the 'Essais' is one of such books. On y trouve tout ce qu'on a jamais pensé,' as one of Montaigne's admirers says.

But besides the book of essays, the author's life offers a fund for the regular investment of floating public curiosity. In this department the material for speculation is constantly on the increase. Montaignologie' is become a science by itself. Documentary research has yielded the French antiquaries year by year a residuum of new fact.' Each small bit of ore passes in its turn through the smelting-pot of public discussion, till the portion of precious metal it contains is extracted from it. When the grains have accumulated to a heap, comes a new 'étude,' which digests and arranges all the facts new and old into a consistent whole. One of these is now before us, and gives occasion to our present notice. We shall confine our remarks to Montaigne's life. We are not going to re-dissect the ` Essais.'

We have likened Montagnesque to Shakspearean criticism, as two perennial streams supplied each by its glacier on the far off mountain-top. The writings of the two men stand in marked contrast as sources for their biography. From Shakspeare's plays nothing can be gathered about Shakspeare. The great charm of Montaigne's Essays is their egotism. They

a transcript of his mind. «Ce ne sont mes gestes que j'escris ; c'est moy, c'est mon essence.' When Henri III. told him that he liked his book then, replied Montaigne, Your

majesty

are

majesty must needs like me. My book is myself.' But it is the man-his habits and opinions, his tastes and likings that we find there, not his history. The biographers, therefore, have endeavoured to discover elsewhere the body belonging to this soul. They have ransacked libraries and archives to resuscitate something of a frame-work of bone and muscle to all this sentiment. They have had some success. Indeed they have had as much success as could be expected, considering that it was known beforehand that all that could possibly be discovered lay within fixed limits. They have ascertained dates, distinguished the members of his family, and altogether given a local colouring and verification of the course of his private life. They have not turned the literary lounger into a careworn statesman, or a fighting captain of the forces of the League. In this as in many other cases, all the efforts of inquiry have but repeated the lineaments of the traditional and received biography. Such labour, however, is not thrown away. We are not to propose a paradox, or a revolution in opinion, as the only results worth arriving at. If we can deepen the lines, or freshen the colours, cover a scar made by time, or remove a little gathered dust, we do our part towards maintaining the Gallery of Worthies. It is only when the original portrait is discovered not to have been a likeness, that we should paint it over again.

The great feature of Montaigne's life, as impressed on his • Essais,' was, that it was a country life. Early in 1571, at the age of thirty-seven, he withdrew to his estates in Perigord

with full purpose, as much as lay in me, not to trouble myself with any business, but to pass in repose so much of life as remaineth to me' (i. 8). My design is, he repeats in the Third Book written after 1580, de passer doulcement, non laborieusement, ce que me reste de vie' (iii. 9). It was solitude at first. He declined society, and occupied himself with his family, his books, the care of his property. This lasted some little time, but his temper was sociable, and he found he could not support solitude. Je suis tout au dehors, et en évidence; nay à la société, et à l'amitié' (iii. 9). And he disliked the cares of the ménage. He sought distraction, therefore, in the company of his neighbours, in travelling, and in writing. He wished retirement, not solitude. What he would shun was the pressure of business, not crowds. Repeated tours—one to Italy—a journey or two to Paris about the publication of his · Essais,' and his mayoralty at Bordeaux, in 1582, forced on him against his wishes, are the principal events of his life after his retirement. Such at least was the received biography. Nor had any of the disinterred facts disturbed the repose of the picture. His diary of his tour

in

6

in 1580, written in Italian, was found at Montaigne 180 years after his death, and was published in 1774. Now De Thou had said in the 104th book of his history, that Montaigne was at Venice when he received the news of his election to the mayoralty. This journal enables us to correct De Thou. It was at the baths of Lucca, on the 7th of September, in the morning. The letter was dated Bordeaux, August 2, and had followed him into Tuscany, by way of Rome. Such incrementa reassure, instead of invalidating, history.

An attempt, however, is now made ts wrest from us the Montaigne of our youth, the Gentilhomme Perigourdin ;' to tear him from the frame in which he was set in our memory and our affections, from the librairie' and chambre d'études au troisième étage of the old manoir' of Montaigne, and to make of himgood heavens !—to make of him a man of business, a man about court. M. Grün's volume is entitled “La Vie Publique de Michel Montaigne.' The titles of its several chapters are : Ch. 2. · De la Conduite publique de M. Ch. 3. M. Magistrat.' Ch. 4. “Relations de M. avec la Cour.' Ch. 5. •M. Chevalier de l'ordre de S. Michel.' Ch. 6. ·M. Gentilhomme ordinaire de la chambre du Roi' Ch. 9. M. Négociateur Politique.' Ch. 10. • M. Militaire. Ch. 11. • M. aux Etats de Blois.

Such a metamorphosis of our prose Horace, the man of whom la liberté et l'oysiveté sont les maîtresses qualités' (iii. 9) into a hardworking man of office, dressed in the imperial livery trimmed with red tape, is one of those harlequin tricks which paradoxical biographers try upon us from time to time. We have been lately told that Tiberius has been slandered by Tacitus; that the world was never better off than under Caracalla; and that Henry VIII. was the victim of domestic infelicities. On examining M. Grün's volume we find there is no more evidence for the Imperialist transformation of Montaigne than there is in the other three instances. There is in M. Grün's mode of arranging his facts, indeed, a certain degree of art, but it is the skill of the special pleader. It is the argumentation of the Palais de Justice, not of the Court of History. The highest praise is due to French archæologists for their zeal of research, but they cannot, apparently, apply their discoveries. Such a piece of historical reconstruction as this · Vie Publique de Montaigne,' in which hypothesis and imagination are the principal architects, would not stand a chance of a hearing in Germany. We shall add, however, that this attempt to disguise Montaigne has not passed unchallenged in France. With all the authority of his own name, and of the body to which he belongs, M. Villemain has in the gentlest language pointed out that the critic's evidence will not bear all the weight of his conclusions. To no one could this task fall with so much propriety as to Villemain. His own earliest step into publicity was an éloge of Montaigne. It was in 1812 that he carried off, though the youngest of the competitors, the prize proposed by the Académie Française on this subject. It is proof of the national feeling for Montaigne that the first of French living critics, after having made the whole circuit of his country's literature, returns after half a century to the object of his youthful devotion.

It is not our intention to controvert M. Grün's conclusions. It is unnecessary even to examine his reasoning. It is not merely that his evidence is inadequate, but his case is bad to begin with. His intention is worse than his argumentation. An able legist, government employé, and ex-chief-editor of the Moniteur,' he brings into literature the habits and prepossessions of his position. The Academy, and the established reputations look coldly on the administration from which they are systematically excluded. It is not from republican principle, from antipathy to despotism that they do so---it is from the repugnance which the lettered and cultivated man feels for the official man who is not so. Times are changed since the statesmen in France were the writers—when to be a journalist conferred portefeuilles. Statistics is your only reading now. Point and epigram, and sparkling style-how childish to be governed by such instruments. et us have men of business, and have done with mots. All the great men-Sully, Richelieu-have been able administrators. And the great writers too? To be sure,' is the answer, and in proof there is Montaigne. You think he was a rustic recluse, who forswore the court for his old Gascon chateau, but you are entirely mistaken.' This baseless theory is not worth refuting. The real value of M. Grün's Vie de Montaigne' is as a painstaking collection of the facts at present known. It includes all the new discoveries, except those that have come to light since its publication—and though it is only six months old, there is already a considerable harvest. It would we conceive be more than individual

error,

it would be a fundamental misconception of the character of French literature, to lose sight of the following general distinction. The literature of the 'Siècle' is the literature of a court circle. It is fashionably drest, it is modish, Parisian. It comes not from the study, but from the world. From a world, however, of etiquette, polished intrigue, a world with all its license, yet circumscribed by conventional morals. Thought and judgment are there, but they are conformed to a certain superficial standard of good society. In a word it is the VOL. XCIX. NO. CXCVIII.

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literature

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