Imágenes de páginas

demonstrated the contrary; and it is not usua for favors conferred to beget ill-will in the person who confera then. But fuppofing I had secretly entertained an animosity towads him, would I run the risque of a discovery, by so filly a ven cance, and by sending this piece to the press, when I knew, from the usual avidity of the news-writers to find articles of intelligence, that it must necessarily in a few days be laid hold of?

• But not imagining that I was the object of fo black and ridiculous a fufpicion, I pursued my ufual train, by serving my friend in the least doubtful manner. I renewed my applications to General Conway, as soon as the late of that genileman's health permitted it: the General applies again to his Miley: his Majesty's consent is renewed: the Marquis of Rockingham, first commissioner of the treasury, is also applied to: the whole affair is happily finished ; and full of joy, I conveyed the intelligence to my friend.'

General Conway soon after received a letter from Mr. Rourseau, which appeared both to him and Mr. Hume, to be a plain refusal of the pension, as long as the article of secrecy was infifted on; but as Mr. Hume knew that Mr. Rousseau had been acquainted with this condition from the beginning, he was the less furprized at his filence towards him. He thought, that his friend, conscious of having treated him iil in this affair, was ashamed to write to him ; and having prevailed on General Conway to keep the matter still open, he wrote a very friendly letter to Mr. Rousseau, exhorting him to return to his former way of thinking, and to accept of the pension.

Mr. Hume waited three weeks in vain for an answer : he thought this a little strange, and even wrote to Mr. Davenport, but having to do with a very odd sort of man, and still accounting for his silence, by supposing him ashamed to writ: to him, he was resolved not to be discouraged, nor to lose the opportunity of doing him an essential service, an account of a vain ceremonial. He accordingly renewed his applications to the mipisters, and was so happy as to be enabled to write thc following letter to Mr. Roufleau.

'Life-Sireet, Leicester-Fiesls, June 9, 1566. " As I have not received any answer from you, I concludi, that you persevere in the same resolution of refusing all matks of his Majesty's goodness, as long as they must reina n afecres. I have therefore applied to Ceneral Conway to have this condition removed ; and I was so fortunate as to obtain his promise that he would speak to the King for that purpo:e. "It will ry be requisite, said he, that we know previoufly from Mr. P69 (cau, whether he would accept of a penion publicly good



You ap

him, that his Majesty may not be exposed to a second refusal: He gave me authority to write to you on that subject; and I bez to hear your resolution as soon as pofible. If you give your consent, which I earnestly intreat you to do, I know, that I could depend on the good offices of the Duke of Richmond, to second General Conway's application ; lo that I have no doubt of success. I am, my dear Sir,

Yours, with great fincerity, D. H. " In five days I received the following answer. Mr. Rousseau to Mr. Hume.

Wooton, June 23, 1766. I imagined, Sir, that my silence, truly interpreted by your own conscience, had said enough ; but fince you have some design in not understanding me, I shall speak. "You have but ill dilguised yourself. I know you, and you are not ignorant of it. Before we had any personal connections, quarrels, or disputes ; while we knew each other only by literary reputation, you affectionately made me the offer of the good offices of yourself and friends. Affected by this generosity, I threw myself into your arms; you brought me to England, apparently to procure me an asylum, but in fact to bring me to dishonour. plied to this noble work, with a zeal worthy of your heart, and a success worthy of your abilities. You needed not have taken to much pains : you live and converse with the world ; ! with my self in folitude. The public love to be deceived, and you formed to deceive them. I know one man, however, whom you can not deceive; I mean yourself. You know with what horreur my heart rejected the first fufpicion of your defigns. You know I embraced you with tears in my eyes, and told you if you were not the best of men, you must be the blackeit of mankind. In reflecting on your private conduct, you must say to yourself sometimes, you are not the best of men : under which conviction, I doubt much if ever you will be the happielt.

• I leave your friends and you to carry on your schemes as you please; giving up to you, without regret, my reputation during life ; certain that fooner or later jultice will be done to that of both. As to your good offices in matters of interest, which you have made use of as a mask, I thank you for them, and the 1 dispense with profiting by them. I ought not to hold a correspondence with you any longer, or to accept of it to my advantage in any affair in which you are to be the mediator. Adieu, Sir, I wish you the truest happiness; but as we ought not to have any thing to say to each other for the future, this is the last letter you will receive from me.

J. J.R.



To this I immediately sent the following reply. ,
Mr. Hume to Mr. Rousseau.

· June 26, 1766. "As I am conscious of having ever acted towards you the most friendly part, of having always given the most tender, the most active proofs of sincere affection ; you may judge of my extreme surprize on perusing your ep stle! Such' violent accusations, confined altogether to generals, it is as impoffible to answer, as it is impoflible to comprehend them. But affairs cannot, must not remain on that fooling. I shall charitably suppose, that some infamous calumniator has belied me to you. But in that case, it is your duty, and I am persuaded it will be your inclination, to give me an opportunity of detecting him, and of justifying myself; which can only be done by your mentioning the particulars of which I am accused. You say, that I myself know that I have been false to you; but I say it loudly, and will say it to the whole world, that I know the contrary, that I know my friendship towards you has been unbounded and uninterrupted, and that though instances of it have been very generally remarked both in France and England, the smallest part of it only has as yet come to the knowlege of the public. I demand, that you will produce me the man who will assert the contrary; and above all, I demand, that he will mention any on particular in which I have been wanting to you. You owe this to me; you owe it to yourself; you owe it to truth, and honour, and justice, and to every thing that can be deemed sacred among men. As an innocent man; I will not say, as your friend; I will not say, as your benefactor'; but, I repeat it, as an innocent man, I claim the privilege of proving my innocence, and of refuting any scandalous lie which may have been invented against me. Mr. Davenport, to whom Í have sent a copy of your letter, and who will read this before he delivers it, I am confident, will second my demand, and will tell you, that nothing poslibly can be more equitable. Happily I have preserved the letter you wrote me after your arrival at Wooton; and you there express in the strongest terms, indeed in terms too strong, your satisfaction in my poor endeavours to ferve you: the little epistolary intercourse which afterwards passed between us, has been all employed on my fide to the most friendJy purposes. Tell me, what has fince given you offence? Tell me of what I am accused. Tell me the man who accuses mę. Even after you have fulfilled all these conditions, to my fatiffaction, and to that of Mr. Davenport, you will have great difficulty to justify the employing such outrageous terms towards a man, with whom you have been 19 intimately connected, and



[ocr errors]

whom, on many accounts, you ought to have treated with some regard and decency.

Mr. Davenport knows the whole transaction about your pension, because I thought it neceffary that the person who had undertaken your settlement, should be fully acquainted with your circumstances; left he should be tempted to perform towards you concealed acts of generosity, which, if they accidentally came to your knowlege, might give you some grounds of offence. I am, Sir,

D. H. M:. Davenport's authority procured Mr. Hume, in three weeks, an enormous letter, which takes up about fifty pages of the account now before us. This letter confirms all the mate. rial circumstances of the foregoing narrative ; and as from these circumstances alone the public iuft judge of this whole affair, it is quite unneceflary to give any extracts from Mr. Rousseau's letter. Were we to lay before our Readers those parts of it, on which he himself seems to lay the greatest stress, we should be suspected of being prejudiced against him.-- I have hitherto, (says he, in this extraordinary letter) dwelt upon public and notorious facts; which from their own nature and my acknowledgment, have made the greatest eclat. Those which are to follow are particular and secret, at least in their cause, and all possible measures have been taken to keep the knowledge of them from the public ; but as they are well known to the person ine terested, they will not have the lesì infuence toward his own conviction.

This paffage alone is sufficient to excuse us to the discerning Reader, for declining to enter into the particulars of this long letter. Thole who will be at the pains of perusing it, will clearly fee, that Mr. Rousseau's extreme sensibility renders him peculiarly liable to entertain suspicions even of his best friends ; and that his uncommon force of imagination combines circumstances, seemingly' minute and triling, in such a manner as to impose ('n his own understanding. What complexion his heart is of, though appearances in regard to Mr. Hume are strongly againn him, we dare not pretend to determine. The sentiments tha aris in our minds, are those of compassion towards an unfo iunisce man, whose peculiar temper and constitution of mind mu!', we fear, render him unhappy in

ppy in every situation.

. Mi Hune oncludes his paraphrase in the following manner.

Thus I have given a narrative, as concise as poffible, of this exti aordinary affair, which I am told has very much attracte ihi a'ten'ion of the public, and whick contains more unexpected in idents than any other in which I was ever engaged, The persons to whom I have shown the original papers which authenticate the whole, have differed very much in their opi

[ocr errors]

nion, as well of the use I ought to make of them as of Mr. Rousseau's present sentiments and state of mind. Some of them have maintained, that he is altogether infincere in his quarrel with me, and his opinion of my guilt, and that the whole proceeds from that excessive pride which forins the basis of his chaTacter, and which leads him both to seek the eclat of refusing the King of England's bounty, and to shake off the intolerable burthen of an obligation to me, by every sacrifice of honour, truth, and friendship, as well as of iritereit. They found their sentiments on the absurdity of that first supposition on which he grounds his anger, viz. that Mr. Walpole's letter, which he knew had been every where disperfed both in Paris and London, was given to the press by me; and as this supposition is contrary to common sense on the one hand, and not supported even by the pretence of the slightest probability on the other, they conclude, that it never had any weight even with the person himself who lays hold of it. They confirm their sentiments by the number of fictions and lies, which he employs to justify his anger ; fictions with regard to poines, in which it is impoisible for him to be mistaken. They also remark his real chearfulness and gaiety, amidst the deep melancholy with which he pretended to be oppressed. Not to mention che abfurd reasoning which runs through the whole, and on which it is impossible for any man to rest his conviction ; and though a very important interest is here abandoned, yet money is not universally the chief object with mankind; vanity weighs farther with some men, particularly with this philosopher; and the very oftentation of refusing a penfion from the King of England, an ostenta tion which, with regard to other princes, he has often sought, might be of itself a fufficient motive for his present conduct.

There are others of my friends, who regard this whole arfair in a more compassionate light, and consider Mr. Rousseau as an object rather of pity than of anger. They suppose the same domineering pride and ingratitude to be the basis of his character; but they are also willing to believe, that his brain has received a sensible shock, and that his judgment, set afloat, is carried to every side, as it is pushed by the current of his humours and of his passions. The absurdity of his belief is no proof of its insincerity: He imagines himself the sole important being in the universe : he fancies all mankind to be in a combination against him: his greatest benefactor, as hurting him most, is the chief object of his animosity: and though he supports all his whimsies by lies and fictions, this is so frequent a case with wicked men, who are in that middle state between sober reason and total frenzy, that it needs give no surprize to any body.

I own that I am much inclined to this latter opinion; tho', at the fame time, I question whether, in any period of his life,


« AnteriorContinuar »