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and Etruria respectively should both be marked by the same curious peculiarity, of five conical pillars on a massive substruction, could hardly be the result of chance. Or even, were we to suppose that Porsena borrowed his idea immediately from Alyattes, it would at least go far to prove an admission by himself and his people of their Lydian cousinship. As this peculiarity is limited, in so far as existing remains admit of our judging, either to known royal sepulchres, or to such unidentified monuments as, from their superior grandeur, may be conjectured at least to have been so, it naturally suggests itself that the five cones may have been a type of royal dignity; possibly derived from some ornament of the crown or diadem, common, as may be implied from the text of Dionysius already cited, to the Lydian with the Etruscan monarch. A head-dress similarly decorated is, in fact, occasionally observable on the Etruscan monuments.
By reference, therefore, to their own admission, the all but unanimous testimony of antiquity, and the evidence of their national monuments-the only safe criteria for our guidance in any such case—the Etruscans would appear to have been emigrants from the western shore of the Asiatic peninsula, at a period when the arts of civilized life had already reached a certain stage of elementary advancement; and their subsequent progress and improvement in those arts to have been carried on, chiefly under the auspices of their Italo-Grecian neighbours and subjects, partly of the foreign models which their extended commerce placed at their disposal.
The attention of the British public has already been directed on high authority to the correspondence between certain of the works of art recently brought to light under English auspices in Asia Minor, and those of Etruria.* Several of the Lydian plains and valleys are described by travellers as covered, like those of the Roman Maremma, with tumuli similar to the Cucumelle of Volci and Corneto. It is to be hoped that the same British enterprise, which has lately drawn aside the veil from so many of the hidden mysteries of Lycian archæology, will crown the work which Dempster began, by rendering a like service to the monumental remains of Lydia.
* Mr. W. R. Hamilton, Report to R. S. L., 1843. See Lit. Gaz., Aug. 12, 1843.
ART. IV. Lives of Men of Letters and Science who flourished in the time of George III. By Henry, Lord Brougham, F.R.S., Member of the National Institute of France and of the Royal Academy of Naples. 8vo. London, 1845.
ORD Brougham has now given us three goodly volumes upon statesmen and lawyers during the time of George III.; and this is the first volume of what we hope will prove at least as large a series devoted to the literary and scientific ornaments of the same period.
It is well known that no man has gone beyond Lord Brougham in the patient finish of particular passages of his speeches; he has himself recorded that the ultimate peroration on Queen Caroline's case was written ten times over before he thought it worthy of the occasion; and we have heard from his lips within these last few years several outpourings on the Whigs, which no doubt had been concocted with equal and more delightful elaboration. But with rare exceptions we cannot believe that he spends much time on the detail of any of his productions; nor do we suppose that his oral eloquence would be more effective than it is, if he took more pains in immediate preparation :-the preparation of lifelong study is a far better and here a quite sufficient thing. But it is somewhat different in the case of compositions avowedly and exclusively for the press. In these, we think, the public might reasonably expect more of care and deliberation than can usually be recognised in the authorship of Lord Brougham. Nothing like imbecility need be feared-but when there is such obvious strength, it is a pity that there should often be as obvious rashness. Does he, after all, write in general, or content himself with dictating?
The present volume contains Lives of Voltaire, Rousseau, Hume, Robertson, Black, Priestley, Cavendish, Watt, Simson, Davy; and it is impossible not to admire the sagacity and range of information displayed in describing so many extraordinary men, whose characters and fortunes, gifts, attainments, pursuits, and performances offer such variety. The biographer seems to feel equally at home with poetry, history, mathematics, chemistry; and as respects the personal features of the heroes, there are several articles throughout which one hardly ever loses the agreeable feeling that what his Lordship supplies is the fruit of ripe thought and reflection, not merely a very clever man's hasty deductions from materials collected for the nonce. We are sorry to say, however, that such is not the case with all of them; and that the most signal exception occurs, according to our judgment, in the life of by much the most brilliant and influential personage included in
the book-Voltaire. As to Voltaire's works, considered merely in a literary point of view-in reference to their intellectual and artistical merits-we have little complaint to make. We may differ from Lord Brougham's opinion as to this or that particular piece, or even as to some whole classes of his prose or verse; but no one can doubt that here we have genuine criticism, the result of long familiarity-criticism conveyed and above all condensed in a style which no cramming, no reading up, will ever enable a Voltaire himself to rival. But it appears to us that Lord Brougham's study of the man has been comparatively superficial; that in drawing the character he has overlooked even well-known facts, and neglected frequently to apply serious thought to the facts which he mentions.
This is the more strange, because he sets out with a severe censure of the superficiality of all preceding lives of Voltaire. He says most truly that not one of the French biographers appears even to have thought of examining thoroughly the twenty volumes of his own correspondence. We expected copious evidence of Lord Brougham's having done what his predecessors thus neglected; and it was equally natural to suppose that he must have sifted the numerous memoirs and epistolary collections connected with the names of Voltaire's associates or opponents, which have issued from the press since Voltaire's own letters were first included in a general edition of his works. In the essay before us we find slender proof of this sort of preparation. We believe it gives only one circumstance of the slightest moment as to Voltaire's personal history, which was not given in Condorcet's meagre life of the Patriarch.' Very many incidents and transactions, brought to light and clearly established and explained by works published since that date, and which are of the first importance to a right understanding of Voltaire's career and character, seem wholly to have escaped the new biographer's cognizance. There is not a single line from which it need be inferred that Lord Brougham ever read even Grimm. If ever he read Madame de Grafigny, he had utterly forgotten her book before he thought of writing his own. The reference to it in his Appendix seems indeed to imply this very distinctly. However his Lordship may be justified in despising the character of Longchamps, even that evidence ought not to have been passed over as if it had no existence. No dispassionate person can believe it to be a mere tissue of malicious inventions. In many important particulars it is very far indeed from standing alone.
It will be anticipated, of course, that as Lord Brougham has chiefly relied on Condorcet, his Life also is an apology for
Voltaire. It is so; but we are very far from insinuating that Lord Brougham indicates any sympathy with the anti-Christian opinions projected in every page by his shallow and coxcombical predecessor. Lord Brougham, in this as in all his writings, avows himself a Christian: he deplores what Condorcet makes the chief theme of his eulogy-but, condemning infidelity, he suggests some strange enough apologies for the arch-infidel.
He first of all says that an unfair prejudice has been raised by the charge of blasphemy constantly brought against Voltaire. Blasphemy,' says his Lordship, implies belief.' Voltaire believed in the Deity of natural religion, and of that Deity he never wrote irreverently. Not believing in any revealed religion, he is unjustly reproached with blasphemy for having devoted his talents to overthrow the whole system of Christianity, which was in his eyes no more than the most recent and triumphant of a long series of fraudulent fictions-all alike devised by priestly impostors for tyrannical purposes-to profess belief in any one of which ever has been and ever will be clear proof of either imbecility or hypocrisy. Such is the substance of his Lordship's
We doubt very much if there ever was an Atheist-in the broadest sense of that term-a rational being, who seriously and fixedly believed the universe to be the result of chance; but we may content ourselves with quoting a couple of sentences from Condorcet's summary, and asking whether Voltaire was not, by his prime eulogist's showing, as near as possible what mankind generally understand by an Atheist :—
Il a paru constamment persuadé de l'existence d'un Etre suprême, sans se dissimuler la force des objections qu'on oppose à cette opinion, Il croyait voir dans la Nature un ordre régulier; mais sans s'aveugler sur des irrégularités frappantes qu'il ne pouvait expliquer. Il était persuadé, quoiqu'il fût encore éloigné de cette certitude devant laquelle se taisent toutes les difficultés. Il resta dans une incertitude presque absolue sur la spiritualité et même sur la permanence de l'âme après le corps; mais comme il croyait cette dernière opinion utile, de même que celle de l'existence de Dieu, il s'est permis rarement de montrer ses doutes.'- Vie de Voltaire, p. 179.
It would, we apprehend, be very easy to bring together very many passages in which-even taking Lord Brougham's notion of blasphemy as the rule-Voltaire blasphemes; but we should be sorry to fill even a page in such a manner for any purpose whatever. His Lordship proceeds to say that, dismissing the blackest charge, Voltaire's hostility to Christianity itself must fully expose him to our condemnation, unless we believe that he had taken
due and fair pains to examine into the evidences before he formed his creed.
No man,' says Lord Brougham (and this is no new doctrine with him), is accountable for the opinion he may form, the conclusion at which he may arrive, provided that he has taken due pains to inform his mind and fix his judgment; but for the conduct of bis understanding he certainly is responsible. He does more than err if he negligently proceeds in the inquiry; he does more than err if he allows any motive to sway his mind save the constant and single desire of finding the truth; he does more than err if he suffers the least influence of temper or of weak feeling to warp his judgment; he does more than err if he listens rather to ridicule than reason-unless it be that ridicule which springs from the contemplation of gross and manifest absurdity, and which is in truth argument and not ribaldry.
'Now by these plain rules we must try Voltaire; and it is impossible to deny that he possessed such sufficient information, and applied his mind with such sufficient anxiety to the discovery of truth, as gave him a right to say that he had formed his opinions, how erroneous soever they might be, after inquiring, and not lightly. The story which is related of the master in the Jesuits' seminary of Louis le Grand, where he was educated, having foretold that he would be the Corypheus of deists, if true, only proves that he had very early begun to think for himself.'-p. 5.
Now Voltaire was a mere boy when he left this Jesuits' college. It will hardly be maintained that he had at that period taken the due pains,' and possessed himself of the sufficient information,' that Lord Brougham insists upon; but whether the story of the superior's prophecy be or be not true, it is certain that in the earliest of Voltaire's productions we find his infidelity exactly the same, in kind and in degree, that it appears in the latest of his works. The Epistle to Uranie (Madame Rupelmonde), which is among the very first, is pointed out by Condorcet for our special admiration, as containing, in its few stanzas, the sum and substance of the doctrine of Ferney! We have no wish to dwell on a word, but surely Lord Brougham employs his words with less than sufficient anxiety.' He does not believe any more than ourselves that any man, especially a man of unsurpassed acuteness, can inquire diligently with the single desire of finding the truth,' and yet, in the upshot, fix his judgment' that the evidences of Christianity are a heap of fables and delusions, which he may spend his life in deriding, without exposing himself to any minor modification even of the charge of blasphemy.
With the inconsistency of an advocate who feels that he has a bad case in hand, Lord Brougham turns to a better argument. He pleads that Christianity was placed before the young mind
VOL. LXXVI. NO. CLI.