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16th Dec. 1773. “ myself that you have measured and computed all his curves, " and angles of incidence. He will find Diderot and Grimm “ in Russia" (famous visit of Diderot), "all occupied with the “ Czarina's beautiful reception of them, and with the many " things worthy of admiration which they have seen there. Some
say Grimm will possibly fix himself in that Country" (chose better),—“which will be the asylum at once of your fanatic “ Chaumeixes and of the Encyclopédistes, whom he used to de“ nounce.” (This poor Chaumeix did, after such feats, die peaceably at Moscow, as a Schoolmaster).
“M. de Guibert has gone by Ferney; where it is said Vol“ taire has converted him, that is, has made him renounce the
errors of ambition, abjure the frightful trade of hired manslayer, with intent to become either Capuchin or Philosophe;
so that I suppose by this time he will have published a “Decla“ ration' like Gresset, informing the public that, having had the “misfortune to write a Work on Tactics, he repented it from “ the bottom of his soul, and hereby assured mankind that never “ more in his life would he give rules for butcheries, assassina
tions, feints, stratagems, or the like abominations. As to me,
my conversion not being yet in an advanced stage, I pray you “ to give me details about Guibert's, to soften my heart and penetrate my bowels.
“We have the Landgravine of Darmstadt here :37 no end to “the Landgravine's praises of a magnificent Czarina, and of all “ the beautiful and grand things she has founded in that Coun
try. As to us, who live like mice in their holes, news come to us only from mouth to mouth, and the sense of hearing is nothing like that of sight. I cherish my wishes, in the mean
while, for the sage Anaxagoras" (my D'Alembert himself); “ and I say to Urania, 'It is for thee to sustain thy foremost
Apostle, to maintain one light, without which a great Kingdom' (France) would sink into darkness; and I say to the Supreme
Demiurgus: ‘Have always the good D'Alembert in thy holy " and worthy keeping.'-F."38
The Boston Tea (same day). Curious to remark, while Friedrich is writing this Letter, “ Thursday, December 16th, 1773," 16th Dec. 1773. what a commotion is going on, far over seas, at Boston, New England,—in the Old South Meetinghouse' there; in regard to three English Tea-Ships that are lying embargoed in Griffin's Wharf, for above a fortnight past. The case is well known, and still memorable to mankind. British Parliament, after nine years of the saddest haggling and baffling to and fro, under Constitutional stress of weather, and such east-winds and west-winds of Parliamentary eloquence as seldom were, has made up its mind, That America shall pay duty on these Teas before infusing them: and America, Boston more especially, is tacitly determined that it will not; and that to avoid mistakes, these Teas shall never be landed at all. Such is Boston's private intention, more or less fixed;—to say nothing of the Philadelphias, Charlestons, New Yorks, who are watching Boston, and will follow suite of it.
3: Rödenbeck, iii. 89, 90. 38 Euvres de Frédéric, xxiv. 614.
Sunday, November 26th,—that is, nineteen days ago, the first of these Tea-Ships, the Dartmouth, Captain Hall, 6 moored itself in Griffin's Wharf: Owner and Consignee is a 'broad-brimmed Boston gentleman called Rotch, more attentive 'to profits of trade than to the groans of Boston :—but already 6 on that Sunday, much more on the Monday following, there had a meeting of Citizens run together,—(on Monday, Faneuil 'Hall won't hold them, and they adjourn to the Old South Meetinghouse),—who make it apparent to Rotch that it will
much behove him, for the sake both of tea and skin, not to “enter” (or officially announce) this Ship Dartmouth at the Customhouse in any wise; but to pledge his broad-brimmed word, equivalent to his oath, that she shall lie dormant there in Griffin's Wharf, till we see. Which, accordingly, she has 'been doing ever since; she and two others that arrived some days later: dormant all three of them, side by side, three crews totally idle; a “Committee of Ten” supervising Rotch's • procedures; and the Boston world much expectant. Thursday, December 16th: this is the 20th day since Rotch's Dartmouth arrived here; if not “ entered” at Customhouse in the course of this day, Customhouse cannot give her a “clearance" either (a • leave to depart),—she becomes a smuggler, an outlaw, and her 'fate is mysterious to Rotch and us.
“This Thursday, accordingly, by 10 in the morning, in the • Old South Meetinghouse, Boston is assembled, and country
16th Dec. 1773.
people to the number of 2,000;—and Rotch never was in such ' a company of human Friends before. They are not uncivil to
him (cautious people, heedful of the verge of the Law); but " they are peremptory, to the extent of—Rotch may shudder
to think what. “I went to the Customhouse yesterday,” said • Rotch, "your Committee of Ten can bear me witness; and “ demanded clearance and leave to depart; but they would not; “ were forbidden, they said !” “Go, then, sir; get you to the “ Governor himself; a clearance, and out of harbour, this day : “ hadn't you better?” Rotch is well aware that he had; hastens • off to the Governor (who has vanished to his Country-house, on purpose); Old South Meetinghouse adjourning till 3 P.M., for Rotch's return with clearance.
• At 3 no Rotch, nor at 4, nor at 5; miscellaneous plangent intermittent speech instead, mostly plangent, in tone sorrowful rather than indignant:at a quarter to 6, here at length is
Rotch; sun is long since set,—has Rotch a clearance or not? * Rotch reports at large, willing to be questioned and cross
questioned: “Governor absolutely would not! My Christian 'friends, what could I or can I do?” There are by this time about 7,000 people in Old South Meetinghouse, very few tallowlights in comparison,-almost no lights for the mind either, 6 and it is difficult to answer. Rotch's report done, the Chair'man' (one Adams, “ American Cato," subsequently so-called) • dissolves the sorrowful 7,000, with these words: “This Meet
ing declares that it can do nothing more to save the Country.” • Will merely go home, then, and weep. Hark, however: almost on the instant, in front of Old South Meetinghouse," a ter‘rific War-whoop; and about fifty Mohawk Indians,"—with whom Adams seems to be acquainted; and speaks without ' Interpreter: Aha!
* And, sure enough, before the stroke of 7, these fifty painted “Mohawks are forward, without noise, to Griffin's Wharf; have put sentries all round there; and, in a great silence of the neighbourhood, are busy, in three gangs, upon the dormant • Tea-ships; opening their chests, and punctually shaking them
out into the sea. “ Listening from the distance, you could hear • distinctly the ripping open of the chests, and no other sound.” About 10 P.M. all was finished; 342 chests of tea flung out to
July 1770. infuse in the Atlantic; the fifty Mohawks gone like a dream; and Boston sleeping more silently even than usual. 939
· Seven in the evening:' this, I calculate, allowing for the Earth's rotation, will be about the time when Friedrich, well tired with the day's business, is getting to bed; by 10 on the Boston clocks, when the process finishes there, Friedrich will have had the best of his sleep over. Here is Montcalm's Prophecy coming to fulfilment;—and a curious intersection of a flying Event through one's poor Letter to D'Alembert. We will now give the two English Interviews with Voltaire; one of which is of three years past, another of three years ahead.
No. 1. Doctor Burney has Sight of Voltaire (July 1770).
In the years 1770-71, Burney, then a famous Doctor of Music, male his Tour through France and Italy, on Musical errands and researches ;40 with these we have no concern, but only with one most small exceptional offshoot or episode which grew out of these. Enough for us to know that Burney, a comfortable, welldisposed, rather dull Doctor, age near 45, had left London for Paris “in June 1770;' that he was on to Geneva, intending for Turin, ' early in July; and that his . M. Fritz,' mentioned below, is a veteran Brother in Music, settled at Geneva for the last thirty years, who has been helpful and agreeable to Burney while here. Our Excerpt therefore dates itself, "one of the early days of July 1770,—Burney hovering between two plans (as we shall dimly perceive), and not exactly executing either:
My going to M. Fritz broke' (was about breaking, but did not quite) “into a plan which I had formed of visit
39 "Summary of the Advices from America' (in Gentleman's Jagacine for 1774, pp. 26, 27); Bancroft, iii. 536 et seq.
40 Charles Burney's Present State of Music in France and Italy, being the Journal of a Tour through those Countries to collect Materials for a General History of Music (London, 1773). The Iristory of Music followed duly, in Four 4tos (London, 1776-1789).
July 1770. ing M. de Voltaire, at the same hour, along with some other strangers, who were then going to Ferney. But, to say the truth, besides the visit to M. Fritz being more my business, I • did not much like going with these people, who had only a • Geneva Bookseller to introduce them; and I had heard that
some English had lately met with a rebuff from M. de Vol“taire, by going without any letter of recommendation, or any
thing to recommend themselves. He asked them What they • wanted? Upon their replying That they wished only to see so ' extraordinary a man, he said: “Well, gentlemen, you now see
for a wild-beast or monster, that was fit only to be stared at as a show ?” This story very much frightened me; for, not having, when I left London, or even Paris, any intention of going to Geneva, I was quite unprovided with a recommendation. However, I was determined to see the place of his residence, which I took to be' (still Les Délices),
• Cette maison d'Aristippe, ces jardins d'Epicure, to which he retired in 1755; but was mistaken' (not The Délices now at all, but Ferney, for nine or ten years back).
'I drove to Ferney alone, after I had left M. Fritz. This "house is three or four miles from Geneva, but near the Lake. 'I approached it with reverence, and a curiosity of the most 6 minute kind. I inquired when I first trod on his domain ; I had an intelligent and talkative postillion, who answered all 'my questions very satisfactorily. M. de Voltaire's estate is very large here, and he is building pretty farmhouses upon it. He has erected on the Geneva side a quadrangular Justice, or Gal• lows, to show that he is the Seigneur. One of his farms, or • rather manufacturing houses,-for he is establishing a manu' facture upon his estate-was so handsome that I thought it was his château.
We drove to Ferney, through a charming country, covered with corn and vines, in view of the Lake, and Mountains of
Gex, Switzerland, and Savoy. On the left hand, approaching the House, is a neat Chapel, with this inscription :
MDCCLXI." 'I sent to inquire, Whether a stranger might be allowed to see the House and Gardens; and was answered in the affirmative.