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occur, how a man, endowed with our intimacy, asked him whether such qualities, could possibly con- he thought that, if his opinions sent to become the agent of so were universally to take place, much mischief as undoubtedly mankind would not be rendered has been done to mankind by his more unhappy than they now writings; and this difficulty can were; and whether he did not only be solved by having recourse suppose that the curb of religion to that universal passion, which was necessary to human nature ? has, I fear, a much more general “The objections,' answered he, influence over all our actions than are not without weight; but we are willing to confess. Pride, error can never produce good, and or vanity, joined to a sceptical truth ought to take place of all turn of mind, and to an education considerations. He never failed, which, though learned, rather sip- in the midst of any controversy, ped knowledge than drank it, was, to give its due praise to every thing probably, the ultimate cause of this tolerable that was either said or singular phænomenon; and the de. written against him. One day sire of being placed at the head of that he visited me in London, he a sect whose tenets controverted came into my room laughing, and and contradicted all received opi- apparently well pleased. What nions, was too strong to be resisted has put you into this good humour, by a man whose genius enabled Hume?" said I. Why, man,' rehim to find plausible arguments, plied he, "I have just now had the sufficient to persuade both himself best thing said to me I ever heard. and many others, that his own opi. I was complaining in a company pions are true. A philosophical where I spent the morning, that I knight-errant was the dragon he was very ill treated by the world, , had vowed to vanquish, and he and that the censures passed upon was careless, or thoughtless, of the me were hard and unreasonable. consequences which might ensue That I had written many volumes, from the achievement of the ad- throughout the whole of which venture to which he had pledged there were but few pages that conhimself.--He once professed him- tained any reprehensible matter, self the admirer of a young, most and yet, for those few pages
I was beautiful, and accomplished lady abused and torn to pieces. You at Turin, who only laughed at his put me in mind, said an honest passion. One day he addressed fellow in the company, whose. her in the usual common-place name I did not know, of an acstrain, that he was abimè, ané. quaintance of mine, a dotary pubanti.'— Oh! pour anéanti,' re. lic, who having been condemned plied the lady; ce n'est en effet to be hanged for forgery, lamented qu'une operation très naturelle de the hardship of his case, that, after vôtre systéme.'
having written many thousand in. In London, where he often did offensive sheets, he should be me the honour to communicate hanged for one line.' the manuscripts of his additional But an unfortunate disposition essays, before their publication, I to doubt of every thing seemed have sometimes, in the course of interwoven with the nature of
Hụme ; and never was there, I versation to strangers, and partiam convinced, a more thorough cularly to Frenchmen, could be and sincere sceptic. He seemed little delightful, and still more parnot to be certain even of his own ticularly, one would suppose, to existence, and could not therefore French women ; and yet, no labe expected to entertain any set dy's toilette was complete without tled opinion respecting his future Hume's attendance. At the opera, state. Once I asked him what he his broad unmeaning face was thought of the immortality of the usually seen entre deux jolis misoul? Why troth, man,' said he, nois. The ladies in France give
it is so pretty and so comfortable the ton, and the ton was deism; a theory, that I wish I could be a species of philosophy ill suited to convinced of its truth, but I canna the softer sex, in whose delicate help doubting.'
frame weakness is interesting, and Hume's fashion at Paris, when timidity a charm. But the wohe was there as secretary to Lord men in France were deists, as with Hertford, was truly ridiculous; us they were charioteers. The teand nothing ever marked, in a nets of the new philosophy were more striking manner, the whime à portée de tout le monde ; and sical genius of the French. No the perusal of a wanton novel, man, from his manners, was surely such, for example, as Therese Philess formed for their society, or losophe, was amply sufficient to less likely to meet with their aprender any fine gentleman, or any probation ; but that flimsy philo- fine lady, an accomplished, nay, a sophy which pervades and deadens learned deist. How my friend even their most licentious novels, Hume was able to endure the enwas then the folly of the day. Free counter of these French female thinking and English frocks were Titans I know not. In England, the fashion, and the Anglomanie either his philosophic pride, or his was the ton du pais. Lord Hol- conviction that infidelity was ill land, though far better calculated suited to women, made him perthan Hume to please in France, fectly averse from the initiation of was also an instance of this singu- ladies into the mysteries of his lar predilection. Being about this doctrine. I never saw him so time on a visit to Paris, the French much displeased, or so much dis. concluded that an Englishman of concerted, as by the petulance of his reputation must be a philoso. Mrs. Mallet, the conceited wife of pher, and must be admired. It Bolingbroke's editor. This lady, was customary with him to doze . who was
who was not acquainted with after dinner, and one day, at a Hume, meeting him one night at great entertainment, he happened an assembly, boldly accosted him to fall asleep; · Le voilà !' says a in these words : Mr. Hume, Marquis, pulling his neighbour by give me leave to introduce myself the sleeve; • La voilà qui pense!' to you; we deists ought to know But the madness for Hume was each other.'- Madame,' replied far more singular and extravagant. he, I am no deist. I do not style From what has been already said myself so, neither do I desire to be of him, it is apparent that his con- known by that appellation.'
Nothing ever gave Hume more port; and his understanding was real vexation, than the strictures so far warped and bent by this unmade upon his history in the House fortunate predilection, that he had of Lords by the great Lord Chat- well nigh lost that best faculty of ham. Soon after that speech I met the mind, the almost intuitive perHume, and ironically wished him ception of truth. His sceptical joy of the high honour that had turn made him doubt, and conse been done him. “Zounds, man,' quently dispute every thing; yet said he, with more peevishness was he a fair and pleasant disputhan I had ever seen him express, tant. He heard with patience,
he's a Goth! he's a Vandal!' - and answered without acrimony. Indeed, his History is as dangerous Neither was his conversation at in politics, as his Essays are in re- any time offensive, even to his ligion: and it is somewhat extra- more scrupulous companions: his ordinary, that the same man who good sense, and good nature, prelabours to free the mind from what vented his saying any thing that he supposes religious prejudices, was likely to shock ; and it was should as zealously endeavour to not till he was provoked to argusbackle it with the servile ideas ment, that, in mixed companies, of despotism. But he loved the he entered into his favourite topics. Stuart" family, and his history is, Where, indeed, as was the case of course, their apology. All his with me, his regard for any indi- . prepossessions, however, could ne- vidual rendered him desirous of ver induce him absolutely to falsi- making a proselyte, his efforts fy history; and though he endea- were great, and anxiously incesvours to soften the failings of his sant. favourites, even in their actions, yet it is on the characters which he gives to them, that he princi
MONTESQUIEU. pally depends for their vindication: and from hence frequently pro
(By Lord Charlemont.) ceeds, in the course of his history, I have frequently met him in this singular incongruity, that it is company with ladies, and have morally impossible that a man been as often astonished at the popossessed of the character which liteness, the gallantry, and sprightthe historian delineates, should in liness of his behaviour. In a word, certain circumstances have acted the most accomplished, the most the part which the same historian refined petit-maître of Paris could narrates and assigns to him.' But not have been more amusing from now to return to his philosophical the liveliness of his chat, nor could principles, which certainly consti- have been more inexhaustible in tute the discriminating feature of that sort of discourse which is best his character, The practice of suited to women, than this venercombating received opinions had able philosopher of seventy years one unhappy, though not unusual old. But at this we shall not be effect on his mind. He grew fond surprised, when we reflect, that of paradoxes, which his abilities the profound author of L'Esprit enabled him successfully to sup- des Loix was also author of the
Persian Letters, and of the truly imagine, from the nature of his gallant Temple de Gnide.
complaint, that it was likely to be He had, however, to a great fatal, I quitted him, however, with degree, though not among wou the utmost regret, and with thatsort men, one quality which is not offoreboding which sometimes preuncommon with abstracted men, cedes misfortunes. Scarcely was I I mean absence of mind. I re- arrived in England, when I remember dining in company with ceived a letter from one whom I him at our ambassador's, Lord Al- had desired to send me the most bemarle, where, during the time particular accounts of him, comof dinner, being engaged in a warm municating to me the melancholy dispute, he gave away to the ser- news of his death, and assuring vant, who stood behind him, seven me, what I never doubted, that clean plates, supposing that he had he had died as he lived, like a real used them all. But this was only philosopher; and what is more, in the heat of controversy, and with true christian resignation. when he was actuated by that What his real sentiments, with lively and impetuous earnestness regard to religion, were, I cannot to which, though it never carried exactly say. He certainly was not him beyond the bounds of good a Papist; but I have no reason to breeding, he was as liable as any believe that he was not a Christian; man I ever knew. At all other in all our conversations, which times he was perfectly collected, were perfectly free, I never heard nor did he ever seem to think of him utter the slightest bint, the any thing out of the scope of the least word, which savoured of
faneness; but, on the contrary, In the course of our conversa- whenever it came in his way to men. tions, Ireland, and its interests, tion christianity, he always spoke have often been the topic; and, of its doctrine and of its precepts upon these occasions I have al- with the utmost respect and reverways found him an advocate for ence; so that did I not know that an union between that country and he had too much wisdom and goodEngland. Were I an Irishman,' ness to wish to depreciate the rul
" said he, I should certainly wish ing religion, from his general manfor it; and, as a general lover of ner of expressing himself I should liberty, I sincerely desire it; and make no scruple freely to declare for this plain reason, that an infe- him a perfect christian. At his rior country, connected with one death the priests, as usual, tormentmuch her superior in force, can ed him, and he bore their exhor. never be certain of the permanent tations with the greatest patience, enjoyment of constitutional free- good humour, and decency; till dom, unless she has, by her repre- at length fatigued by their obstisentatives, a proportional share in nate and tiresome pertinacity, he the legislature of the superior told them that he was much obligkingdom.'
ed for their comfort, but that, hav. A few days before I left Paris ing now a very short time to live, to return home, this great man he wished to have those few mi. fell sick, and, though I did not nutes to himself, as he had lived
long enough to know how to die. president, has now in his possesA day or two before his death, an sion forty folio volumes in his faunlucky circumstance happened, ther's hand-writing, which are noby which the world has sustained thing more than the common-place an irreparable loss. He had writ- books from whence this admirable ten the history of Louis the Ele- work was extracted. Montesquieu, venth, including the transactions indeed, seems to have possessed of Europe during the very import- the difficult art of contracting matant and interesting period of that ter into a small compass, without prince's reign. The work was long rendering it obscure, more perand laborious, and some, who had fectly than any man who ever seen parts of it, have assured me wrote. His Grandeur et Decathat it was superior even to his dence des Romains is a rare inother writings. Recollecting that stance of this talent; a book in he had two manuscripts of it, one which there is more matter than of them perfect and the other ex- was ever before crammed together tremely mutilated, and fearing that in so small a space. One circumthis iinperfect copy might fall into stance with regard to this lastthe hands of some ignorant and mentioned treatise has often struck avaricious bookseller, he gave his me, as a sort of criterion by which valet de chambre the key of his to judge of the materialness of a escrutoir, and desired him to burn book. The index contains nearly that manuscript, which he describ
as many pages as the work itself. ed to him. The unlucky valet burned the fair copy, and left that from which it was impossible to GERARD HAMILTON.* print.
There is nothing more uncom- The uncommon splendor of mon than to see, in the same man, his eloquence, which was sucthe most ardent glow of genius, ceeded by such inflexible taciturthe utmost liveliness of fancy, nity in St. Stephen's Chapel, be
, united with the highest degree of came the subject, as might be supassiduity and of laboriousness. posed, of much, and idle specuThe powers of the mind seem in lation. The truth is, that all his this to resemble those of the body. speeches, whether delivered in The nice and ingenious hand of London or Dublin, were not only the oculist wasnever made to heave prepared, but studied with a mi- . the sledge, or to till the ground. nuteness and exactitude, of which In Montesquieu, however, both those who are only used to the these talents were eminently con- carelessness of modern debating, spicuous. No man ever possessed can scarcely form any idea. Lord a more lively, a more fanciful ge. Charlemont, who had been long nius. No man was ever more la- and intimately acquainted with borious. His Esprit des Lois is, him, previous to his coming to perhaps, the result of more read- Ireland, often mentioned that he ing than any treatise ever yet com. was the only speaker, among the posed. M. de Secondat, son to the many he had heard, of whom he
• The following are all by Mr. Hardy.