of demanding a portion for his eldest daughter when she marries are plainly of French origin.

Soon after Philip the Fair had conftituted a general state of the commons of his kingdom, Edward did the fame in England, by way of forming a balance against the power of the barons. For it was in this prince's reign that the Houfe of Commons was abfolutely established.

Till the fourteenth century, then, we fee that the government of England resembled that of France. The national churches were perfectly the fame; the fame fubjection to the court of Rome; the fame exactions that were ftill complained of, but ever paid to that avaricious court; the fame quarrels, the fame excommunications; the fame donations to monks; the fame mixture of religious rapine, fuperftition and barbarity.

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The government of France and England having then been conducted on the fame principles for fo many ages, how comes it to pass that these two governments are now become as different as thofe of Morocco and Venice?


Is it not because Great Britain being an island, the king has no occafion to keep up a large ftanding army, which ferves no lefs to awe the subject than to guard against the enemy?

Is it not because the English are of a more folid turn, more given to reflection, and more fteady in their refolutions than fome other nations?

And was it not for this reafon †, that, ever complaining of the papal yoke, they, at length, totally fhook it off, while a nation of greater levity, at the fame time, laughed at it, and wore it, and danced in their fetters?

Has not the maritime fituation of their country too, their ex tenfive navigation, given them a severity of manners?

•And that feverity of manners, which has made their island the fcene of so many tragical events, has not that likewise contributed to infpire them with a generous freedom?

The love of liberty,-is not that become their prevailing cha racteristic? Has not this grown in proportion with the improvement of their wealth and their understanding? The people cannot be equally powerful, but they may be equally free. And this the Englith have obtained by their firmness.


To be free is to be dependent only on the laws. Of course the English love their laws as parents do their children, because they proceeded from themselves; at least they believe they did.

A government fuch as this could not be established haftily. It had refpectable powers to contend with, and confequently required time. The power of the Pope, the most formidable, because it was founded on ignorance and prejudice: the power of the crown, ever

* Mr. Voltaire says, l'Angleterre etant une ifle, one of his ufual inaccuracies.

+ A better reafon is here given for the Reformation in England, than that lately affigned by the fame Author. See our laft Appendix.


ready to make encroachments, and always on that account to be guarded againft; the power of the Barons, which was an abfolute anarchy; the power of the bishops, which extending as well to civil as to ecclefiaftical matters, contended for the fuperiority both with the Barons and the Kings.

By degrees, the Houfe of Commons became a barrier to these torrents, and that houfe does now, in fact, conftitute the nation. The King, who is the head, acts only for himself, and for what is called the prerogative. The Peers affemble in parliament only for themselves. The Bishops do no more. But the House of Commons affembles in behalf of the people, because each member is deputed by the people. Now the people are to the King, as eight millions are to a unit; to the Bishops and the Peers as eight millions are to two hundred and eight millions of free citizens are reprefented by the lower house.


From this establishment, compared to which the republic of Plato is an idle reverie, and which might feem to be the invention of a Locke, a Newton, a Halley, or an Archimedes, have evils arifen fhocking to humanity. The diforder of the vast machine went near to destroy it in the time of Fairfax and of Cromwell. Fanaticism got into the grand edifice, like a devouring fire, which confumes the most beauteous buildings, that are only made of wood.

In the time of William the Third, it was rebuilt of ftone. Philofophy has destroyed fanaticifm, that bane of the best regulated ftates; and it is furely probable, that a conftitution which has regu. lated the rights of the king, the nobility, and the people (a conftitution, in which every individual finds his fecurity) will last as long as any human establishment can laft: and it is equally probable that all states which have not the happinefs to be founded on fuch principles as thefe, will haften to a revolution.

Since writing the above Article, I have reperufed the nineteenth book of the spirit of laws, wherein the Author exhibits a portrait of England, without naming it. I was ready to commit my own to the flames, but I confidered that though it wanted the wit, the refinement, and the depth that one admires in Montefquieu, it might still be ufeful. It is founded on facts that are indifputable, and fometimes one is inclined to doubt the ideas of ingenuity.'

THE CERTAINTY OF HISTORY. All certainty, that is not founded on mathematical demonftration, amounts to nothing more than the highest degree of probability. There can be no other hiftorical certainty.

The first hiftorian who fpoke of the grandeur and population of the Chinese empire was not believed, nor could he make himself to be believed. The Portuguese who vifited that vaft empire many ages afterwards, gave fome probability to the account. It is now certain; that is, it has that certainty which arifes from the unanimous difpofition of a thousand eye-witnesses of different nations, whofe teftimony no one difputes.

If only two or three hiftorians had recorded that adventure of Charles the Twelfth, who, obftinately determined to stay in one of the caftles of the Sultan his benefactor, in fpite of him; and with


only his domeftic fervants, fought against an army of Janifaries and Tartars, I fhould fufpend my judgment. But after fpeaking with many eye-witnesses, and never hearing the matter called in question, I had the greatest reafon to believe it. Because, after all, if it was neither a very wife nor a very common action, it was not unnatural, nor, with that hero, out of character.

What is contrary to the ordinary courfe of nature ought not to be believed, at leaft not unless it be attefted by men who are apparently under the influence of a divine infpiration, the evidence of which inspiration cannot be doubted. For this reason, under the article Certainty, in the dictionary of the Encyclopedia, there feems to be a paradox. There it is faid, that if all the people in Paris fhould affirm that they had feen a perfon raised from the dead, there would be as much reafon to believe it, as there would be if all-Paris fhould affirm that the French had gained the battle of Fontenoy. Now it is certain that the teftimony of all Paris, on a matter which is in itself improbable, could not be equal to the teftimony of all Paris in a cafe where no Probability was wanting. Behold here the first principles of found logic. Such a dictionary ought to be confecrated to truth alone.'


We have divided the æras of time into the historical and the fabulous. But the hiftorical æra itself wants likewife the diftinctions of truth and fable. I speak not of thofe fables received and acknowledged as fuch. There is no doubt, for inftance, arifing on the prodigies with which Livy has interlarded his hiftory, but on the facts that are received, doubts may arife.

It must be confidered, that the Roman republic was five hundred years without hiftorians, and that Livy himself laments the lofs of the annals of the pontifs, and of other monuments that almoft all perished in the burning of Rome. Pleraque interiere. It is generally acknowledged, that in the firft three centuries the art of writing was very uncommon. Rara per eadem Tempora Litera. One may reasonably doubt therefore concerning any relations of facts which are contrary to the common order of nature, and to human contingencies.


Is it probable that Romulus, the grandfon of a Sabine King, could be under a neceffity of carrying off by force the Sabine women for a fupply of wives! Is the ftory of Lucretia at all probable? Can one fo cafily believe, on the faith of Livy, the ftory of Porfenna's pannic flight, or of Scævola's burning his hand?

Is the ftory of Regulus inclofed in a tub ftuck through with nails more credible? Would not his cotemporary, Polybius, have mentioned it, if there had been any truth in it? He does not fay a fyllable about it. One may prefume, therefore, that it was invented a long time afterwards, in order to render the Carthaginians odious.


If you confult the dictionary of Moreri, he affures you, that this ftory of Regulus is recorded by Livy, though that decade in which Livy might have spoken of it, is loft. There is nothing for it but Freinsheim's fupplement. It is pleasant enough, however, to obferve that the Author of the dictionary, while he quotes a German of the feventeenth


feventeenth century, feriously believes that he is quoting a Roman of the Auguftan age. But the uncertainties of history would fill volumes without number.'


ON THE STYLE AND MANNER OF HISTORY. So much has been faid on this fubject, that little remains to be faid now. It is well known that the style and manner of Livy, the dignity, and eloquence of his pen, are perfectly confiftent with the grandeur of the Roman republic; that Tacitus had a better hand for the portrait of a tyrant, Polybius for the difcipline of war, and Dionyfius of Halicarnaffus for the elucidation of antiquities.

• But while we form ourselves on the model of thefe great maßers in general, our talk is heavier than theirs. Modern hiftorians are required to be more circumftantial in their details, to have their facts better established, their dates of greater precifion; authorities are expected for what they affert, and likewife an attention to customs, laws, manners, commerce, finance, agriculture, and population. It is now with history, as with natural philofophy and the mathematics. The materials are immenfely enlarged, and the more easy it is to make a collection of gazettes, the more difficult it is to write a history.

Daniel thought himself an hiftorian, when he tranfcribed the dates and narrative of a battle which you could make nothing of. He should have defcribed the people, their laws, manners and customs, and the caufes of revolutions in thefe feveral circumftances. Might not the people fay to him, and with very great propriety, It is not the hiftory of Lewis the large, we want: it is our own? You tell us on the authority of an old chronicle, written the Lord knows when, or by what means, that, when Lewis the eighth was in a dechining ftate of health, his phyficians ordered his poor carcafe to be put to bed to a fine young girl, and that the pious, good king refufed this vile, wicked regimen. Ah, Daniel! Had you forgot the Italian proverb? Donna ignuda manda l'Uomo fotto la Terra. You fhould have been better acquainted with natural and political hiftory. The hiftory of a country, little known, fhould not be on the fame model with that of your own,

If you write the hiftory of France, it is not neceffary that you should describe the courfe of the Seine and the Loire; but if you write the conquests of the Portuguese in Afia, the topography of the country is requifite. You muft lead your Reader by the hand along the African coast, along the Coafts of Perfia and India. It is expected that you should inftruct him in the manners, laws and customs of thofe countries which are new to the Europeans.

• We have twenty hiftories of the establishment of the Portuguese in the Indies; but not one of them acquaints us with the different governments of thofe countries, their religions, their antiquities, the Bramins, the difciples of St. John, and the Banians. It is true, they have preferved the letters of Xaverius and his fucceffors. They have given us hiftories of India, written at Paris after thofe miffiona*ries, who were unacquainted with the language of the Bramins. We have been told a hundred times that the Indians worship the devil.

* A haked woman will put a man to bed under ground.

Rev. App. Vol. xlvii.

. The

The chaplains of the trading companies go off with this prejd dice, and when they find on the coaft of Coromandel fymbolical figures, they fail not to reprefent them as portraits of the devil. They confider themselves as in his dominions, and prepare to fight him on his own ground. They do not recollect that we Europeans worship a devil there whose name is mammon, and that we go fix thousand leagues from our own country to pay our devotions to him, and fill our pockets.

As to those who are hired fervants to a bookfeller in St. James's Street, and who are ordered by their mafter to write a hiftory of Japan, or Canada, or the Canary Islands, or, poffibly, the memoirs of fome capuchin, to those I have nothing to fay.

But if you, my good hiftoriographer, will tell us no more than that one barbarous prince fucceeded another on the banks of the Uxus, or the Jaxertes, of what utility can your history be to the public?


Thefe rules are well known, but the art of writing history well, will always be very rare. We know that the ftyle fhould be grave, pure, various and pleafing. In short, it is with hiftorical writing, as with all other works of genius, there are many rules, but very few real artists.'


ON THE INFLUENCE WHICH THE PASSIONS OF THE MOTHER HAVE ON THE FOETUS. I am now of opinion, that the ftrong paffions of pregnant women have a prodigious effect on the embryo, and I believe I fhall always be of the fame opinion. I have my reasons from what I have feen. Had I no other authority for this opinion than the teftimony of thofe hiftorians who relate the cafe of Mary Stuart, and her fon james the firft, I fhould fufpend my judgment, because this happened two hundred years ago, and becaufe the impreffion made on James may be imputed to other caufes than the imagination of Mary, The royal affaffins, at the head of whom was her husband, entered, fword in hand into the room where she was at fupper with her lover, and killed him before her eyes. This fudden ftroke affected her foetus, and James the firft, with great deal of courage, had always an involuntary tremor upon him when a fword was drawn out of the fcabbard. But this influence on his nerves might have another cause.


Of the following I was an eye-witness. A tramper, with a dancing dog, which he had dreffed in fomething of a red cap, went into the court-yard of a woman who was pregnant. She cried out immediately that the animal fhould be taken away. She told us that her child would bear the marks of it. She wept, and would not be comforted. This is the fecond time, faid fhe, that the like misforfortune has happened to me. My first child bears the marks of a fright which I received. It is the weaknefs of my frame; I am fenfible that this misfortune will be repeated. She had too much reafon for what the faid. She was brought to bed of a child which resembled the figure that had frighted her. The cap, in particular, was plainly visible, and the poor infant lived two days.

In the time of Malebranche, no one doubted of the circumstance he relates of a woman, who having feen a malefactor broke on the wheel, was delivered of a child bruifed in the fame parts with the



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